Wills, Trusts & Tax
Our solicitors are highly accomplished in handling large estates and wills covering a variety of circumstances, from tax planning to setting up trusts to protect assets.
We have many long-standing relationships with families who value our knowledge of history; they know we will preserve their family wealth for future generations.
There are many considerations when planning your estate and post death arrangements; Wills are a fundamental part of making sure your wishes are carried out however they are only part of the planning process – depending on your situation there are a range of other matters to consider such as the role of trusts for asset protection and tax mitigation.
Our solicitors will discuss your objectives, listen to your wishes and concerns, we make sure to spot any tax planning or estate planning opportunities, and create solutions to any potential complications.
Trusts are often key to succession planning, and clients regularly ask us to act as trustees. Thanks to our broad experience and expertise in this area, we can advise clients and trustees on the creation, administration, taxation and, where appropriate, winding up of trusts.
Trusts can be set up during your lifetime or come into effect under the terms of your Will on death. Trusts can have a range of benefits including tax saving, safeguarding inheritances, maintaining flexibility or offering the ability to cater for more than one set of beneficiaries (particularly relevant for clients who have been married more than once and have children from previous relationships).
Our credentials are exceptional – five of our lawyers are fully qualified members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).
Will & Trust Dispute Solicitors
Disputes between family members over wills and trusts can be very distressing. Those involved may need legal advice to bring or defend court proceedings.
Our solicitors understand how challenging this can be, and offer expert, empathetic and practical advice in these situations. We also give guidance on alternatives to court action. We can advise on the financial implications of settling out of court, and the potential risks and benefits to pursuing or defending a case in court. Coming to us early can help prevent a situation becoming a formal legal dispute.
Together we will work to address key issues; whether the will is valid, whether there has been a breach of trust by trustees or the likelihood in succeeding with/defending a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975.
If you are an executor, a trustee, a beneficiary or someone who has lost out on an inheritance, please give us a call on 01473 611211.
Contact us, we are here to help.
“You have worked on several aspects of will planning and inheritance tax for our family. You are professional, very approachable and extremely helpful.”
Wills, Trusts & Tax
A Will provides peace of mind – you know that your estate will pass to the people of your choice. It also gives you the opportunity to plan ahead, to prevent any unnecessary loss to the value of your estate, and to ensure your estate is administered tax efficiently and with the minimum of complications. Here are just some of the reasons for making a Will:
- To provide for your partner, a specific relation, a friend or a charity
- To ensure your and your partner’s joint estate is shared between both of your families should you and your partner die together
- To enable the future running of your business
- To appoint guardians and trustees for your children
- To appoint willing and able executors
- To provide someone with a right to continue living in your home
- To protect your estate for your children from a previous relationship
- To ensure life insurance passes to the people of your choice
- To ensure your house can be retained by your family
- To protect your estate from the cost of residential/nursing care that you or your partner might one day require
- To save inheritance tax on your own or your partner’s estate
- To protect your estate from claims against your beneficiaries’ estates (eg on divorce/bankruptcy)
- To exclude a specific relation
- To compensate for any lifetime gifts you may have made
- To secure your pets’ future
- To avoid family arguments about who gets what
In general, we recommend reviewing your Will every 3 to 5 years. But if one of the circumstances mentioned below occurs, it may need to be reviewed sooner than that. A review should ideally be carried out with the assistance of our Will solicitors in order to help spot areas that may need updating.
Marriage or Civil Partnership instantly invalidates any pre-existing Will (unless this was made expressly in contemplation of that marriage/civil partnership). This is the law. Before you get married or enter into a civil partnership you must therefore review and make a new Will (even if you want the terms of your Will to be broadly the same as before) which expressly refers to your forthcoming marriage/civil partnership.
It is very important that you take proper advice not only in relation to your Will and other succession provisions, but also the terms of your divorce.
We can then identify what rights your ex may or may not have, both as your ex and as the surviving parent to your children. We can then advise on appropriate steps.
Because this type of situation can often be complicated, we strongly advise that you seek help from our experienced Will solicitors.
When you die, it is important that those you want to inherit, do so with the minimum of stress, delay and cost.
You can do much to prevent a successful challenge to your Will – forewarned is forearmed!
The first step is for us to identify who might challenge your Will, on what grounds and the risk of that challenge being successful. Our Will solicitors can then advise on how to minimise these risks, if they cannot be prevented altogether.
Yes. However, your UK Will may no longer be appropriate for your new circumstances and Spanish law may override parts of your UK Will.
The Brussels IV Succession Regulations came into effect in 2015 and although the UK has left the EU, the Regulations may nevertheless affect you and you should review your UK Will accordingly.
Before you emigrate, we can also advise you on the UK inheritance tax implications.
Are you a sole trader? Are you in partnership? Have you formed a limited company? Have you signed a partnership agreement or shareholders agreement? What do the articles of association say? Have you signed a cross-option agreement?
Making a Will is not just about identifying who inherits what. It is about maximising the value of any inheritance for your chosen beneficiaries.
We will therefore work with you to ensure that when you die, your business passes to your chosen beneficiaries, and the right people have the right information to maximise its value and minimise any inheritance tax for your estate.
Often there may also be regulatory issues specific to your business, which your executors need to know about. We will work these out with you, so that your executors are protected.
Yes, arranging your affairs and creating your Will in the right way can significantly reduce the taxes your family will have to pay. Getting advice from our Wills solicitors is essential to ensure the terms of your Will and other succession arrangements are both tax efficient and legally watertight.
Mirror (also known as reciprocal) Wills are typically made by couples, whether married or unmarried, or in a civil partnership. Typically, both persons leave their assets to each other. After both have died, the couple want their savings and property to pass to specific individuals; often their children.
It is important to differentiate between mirror Wills and mutual Wills. With mirror Wills, either person may change their Will as they wish later on, including after the first has died. Mutual Wills prevent you from doing this. Mutual Wills are very problematic and often lead to expensive litigation. There are alternative, much better solutions to mutual Wills. Please ask us.
That’s a big gamble to take! How do you know what your circumstances will be when you die?
What if someone dies before you?
What about inheritance tax?
What about pension death benefits?
What about potential challenges to your Will?
What about the extra cost of winding up an estate where there is no Will?
Making a Will is not just about making sure the right people inherit the right amounts or assets; it is about planning to ensure their inheritance is maximised and that your estate is administered smoothly and efficiently after you have died.