Wills and Inheritance
Wherever life takes you…
Whether it is preparing for the future or following the death of a loved one, our wills and inheritance team are on hand to help you through the process.
Making a will is easy to put off, something to be done when your finances have changed, your assets have grown or when you have more time. However, if you pass away without making a will your estate will be distributed in a way defined by the law – irrespective of your wishes.
In seeking appropriate legal advice, it can often be quick and straightforward to create a will which meets your needs and protects what is important to you.
Smith Partnership can help you to create a will which will meet your needs and protect what is important to you by giving you appropriate legal advice.
Clearly, a will is essential in protecting your finances, property and other assets for future generations and is especially important for those with young children who will need a guardian. Through your will, you can specify who will take care of your dependents should the worst happen and protect their inheritance for the future.
The expert wills and inheritance team operate from each of our offices supporting both individuals and business owners as well as voluntary organisations.
No matter how complex your finances, business affairs and family matters may be, Smith Partnership wills and inheritance team are on hand to guide you through the process, helping to demystify the process and in many cases, minimise inheritance tax.
The team includes experienced solicitors and specialist paralegals and is headed up by Solicitor, Nick Green. Nick is supported by Solicitors Luke Smyth and Nisha Thakor along with Legal Executive Sarah Morley, Private Client Adviser, Lesley Wilson and specialist Paralegals Kate Toft and Rachel Flower.
The team’s services extend beyond wills and include:
- Probate services and the administration of estates. The team help bereaved family members with the formalities of dealing with a person’s affairs after they have died, whether they have made a will or not. They are able to deal with the Inheritance Tax Return and the application to the Probate Registry for the Grant of Representation. They also assist in collecting the deceased’s person’s assets and deal with the distribution of the funds.
- Advising executors. Sometimes things do not go to plan, in these instances we are able to advise you if you encounter a troublesome asset or if there has been a falling out between family members or beneficiaries.
- Wills and Codicils preparation. These are the documents which tell your friends and family what you would like to happen after you have died. Not only do they direct where your inheritance will go on to but they also allow you to appoint guardians for young children and you can appoint executors and trustees to oversee the compliance of your wishes.
- Preparation of lasting powers of attorney (LPA). A LPA details what you would like to happen should you ever lose physical or mental capacity during your lifetime. In these documents, you are able to appoint attorneys to manage your affairs for you and you can be as specific as you like when it comes to giving guidance to your attorneys as to how you would like them to act.
- Support with creating and running a trust. Offering advice on the various types of trusts, we can also assist in drawing up trust documents and facilitating any necessary transfers of assets. We can also advise trustees on using their trustee powers and provide advice to beneficiaries and trustees on the law and the particular trust fund in operation.
- Inheritance tax advice. We can fully advise on the current inheritance tax regime and how to legitimately plan for and mitigate against it.
- Advice on transferring equity in properties and making gifts. Offering advice on the implications of making lifetime gifts, we can also assist in dealing with the formalities of transferring assets.
- Deputyships and applications to the Court of Protection. Applications to the Court of Protection are necessary when a person has lost mental capacity and there is no power of attorney in force to protect them. The court must grant a court order so that a person is formally appointed to manage the incapacitated person’s affairs. We will talk you through the whole process and can deal with the full application to the Court of Protection for you.
- Declarations of Trust and Occupation Agreements. Declarations of Trust are used to record an agreement between parties as to how money and property is being held by trustees. Usually this is because joint owners of a property do not have equal shares in the property and this unequal share needs to be recorded. An Occupation Agreement allows a person to remain in occupation of a property but at the same time explains the conditions of the person’s occupation of the property.
- Help with equity releases. This is a means of releasing some money from the value of your home. We will fully advise you on the terms and conditions of the equity release and deal with all formalities on your behalf.
- Advice on funding care homes. We can inform you about how the care home funding process works and how you will be expected to pay for care should you ever become a resident in a residential or nursing home.
- Living wills. These are the documents which say what you would like to happen if you have lost mental capacity and medical professionals need to decide for you. In a living will you can direct what you would like to happen if you cannot communicate for yourself and you can appoint a healthcare proxy who can make decisions on your behalf.
- Advice on will disputes and contesting wills. We can fully advise you on the law regarding administering estates, the validity of and challenging wills, and help you to assess the strength of your claim. We can also advise you on defending a claim should a disinherited family member bring an action while administering the estate.
For your peace of mind…
There is never the ‘perfect’ time to make your will but if you die without one your wishes may not be considered and your estate will be distributed in a way defined by law.
While the process can seem daunting, wills are often much less complicated than you may think and with our wills questionnaire document we have made the whole process even simpler.
To get started, complete the form and email it to email@example.com, a member of our experienced wills and inheritance team will then set to work drawing up the necessary documents, meaning you only need to visit us once - to sign. Giving you peace of mind that should the worst happen, your affairs are in order.
To find out more and to discuss your specific requirements contact us.