Archive for the ‘Wills’ Category

Wills, Probate and Trusts Information

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

Wills and probate solicitors are exceptionally important to consider when in need of legal advice regarding your will or the making of a will. Many times people wait far too late to receive crucial legal advice and are left in a situation where they have to contest a will or potentially seek legal advice to find the will of a loved one. It is important to make sure that you prepare in good time in order to prevent anything getting in the way of your bereavement process, which is already hard enough.

• Deed of Variation

A Deed of Variation allows a change in the distribution of the estate within 2 years of the date of death of the deceased. This may be required for various reasons, such as, to reduce the tax liability of the estate or of a beneficiary, to redistribute assets in accordance with all the beneficiaries’ wishes or to settle a dispute over the estate. We are able to advise of the options available dependent upon the circumstances.

• Estate Administration

We advise and assist in applying for letters of administration, or a grant of probate, transfers of property, calling in of insurance policies, liquidation of assets, tracing of beneficiaries and negotiations with the HM Revenue & Customs. We also deal with Estates where the deceased has not left a Will which means the Rules of Intestacy prevail. We are able to advise families of the Intestacy provisions and who inherits under these circumstances. We are here to assist to make the process easier for families whilst identifying possible tax planning opportunities in the process.

• Inheritance Tax Planning

Inheritance Tax is payable on the value of your estate exceeding £325,000 and the amount that exceeds this threshold is taxed at 40%. The Government has introduced a new exemption for Inheritance Tax purposes known as the Residence Nil Rate Band. In order to benefit from this exemption, careful estate planning is required to ensure the Inheritance Tax exemption is taken advantage of. We advise you on tax planning tools depending on your personal circumstances to help reduce or mitigate your Inheritance Tax liability.

• Lasting Powers of Attorney

A Lasting Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone you trust to deal with your Property and Financial affairs or your Health and Welfare in the event that you are no longer able to do so. If you do not have one in place, you may be leaving your estate in the hands of someone you would not want. We advise on the procedure for obtaining a Lasting Power of Attorney, its uses, preparing the documentation on your behalf and registering them with the Office of the Public Guardian.

• Court of Protection

If an individual has lost mental capacity and is unable to manage their financial affairs, they will not be unable to have a Lasting Power of Attorney drawn up. In such circumstances, we are able to obtain a Deputyship Order through the Court of Protection which appoints a Deputy to manage their financial affairs.

• Trusts

Trusts can be drawn up to control the use of assets for a number of reasons including as a useful tax planning tool. The Trust can hold assets for beneficiaries under the age of 18 years or those who lack mental capacity to deal with their finances. We advise on the various tax implications of setting up a trust.

• Will Writing

It is important that every individual makes a Will. If a Will is not made, your estate will pass under the intestacy laws and this may not necessarily achieve what you would have wanted. It is therefore imperative that you make a Will to ensure that all matters are dealt with as you would like them to ensure there is no confusion between your family members after your death. It is important to note that you can change your Will as many times as you wish during your lifetime. We can offer you comprehensive and coherent advice on the best way of giving effect to your wishes. Our Will drafting service also includes the free storage of your original Will and we will provide you with a copy for your reference to ensure any future changes can be made without the worry of locating the previous Will.

If you would like more information, please contact Mahreen Paswal on 0207 998 7777. With our vast experience in the field, our team will work with you to ensure this process runs as smooth as possible. All information you provide us with is treated with the utmost confidentiality.

Wills & Probate Services

Changes To The English Intestacy Law

Monday, March 9th, 2015

The Inheritance and Trustees Powers Act 2014 (ITPA 2014)

The Inheritance and Trustees Powers Act 2014 (ITPA 2014) came into force on 1 October 2014. The table below summarises the changes. If you don’t have a Will you may wish to consider getting a Will given the changes below. Please call us on 0207 998 7777.

Deceased dies leaving: Old rules (until 30 September 2014) New rules (from 1 October 2014)
A spouse / civil partner but no children(parents and / or siblings survive) Spouse / civil partner receives: (i) the first £450,000; (ii) Personal chattels; and (iii) One half of the remainder of the estate. Parents receive the remaining half of the estate (or siblings if no surviving parents) Spouse / civil partner receives whole estate. Parents / siblings do not receive anything
A spouse / civil partner and children Spouse / civil partner receives: (i) the first £250,000; (ii) personal chattels; and (iii) a life interest in half of the remainder of the estate. Children receive the remaining half of the estate at 18. Spouse / civil partner receives: (i) the first £250,000; (ii) personal chattels; and (iii) half of the estate outright. Children receive the remaining half of the estate at 18.
No Spouse, No Siblings, No Parents, No surviving relatives (i.e. no uncles & aunts, no cousins, no nieces & nephews etc) Everything to the Crown No Change

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When do the Intestacy Rules apply?

(i) When the deceased has not left a Will (or a Will that has not been executed validly);
(ii) When the deceased’s Will has gifts that fail and those gifts fall under the intestacy rules because the Will does not apply to those gifts. This is called a partial intestacy.

The intestacy rules do not apply to jointly owned property (including bank accounts) that is owned as “Joint Tenants” and you may need to get advice to determine if property is held as “Joint Tenants”.

In general terms, anybody with assets of £1m or more (ignoring any debt) should always consider the tax consequences of his death and the impact on family and friends. Similarly if you run a business you should have a Will so the executors can run your business.

What are the tax effects of not bothering to make a Will and relying on the Intestacy Rules?

(i) UK individuals has an amount exempt from inheritance tax which is £325,000 (but for a non-UK domiciled the amount can be much lower – £55,000). If the deceased is a widow or widower, then the deceased may be entitled to carry forward his deceased’s spouse unused nil rate band (so the maximum could be £650,000 for a widowed spouse whose deceased spouse did not use the nil rate band);
(ii) However, if you are married with children, many testators like to use their nil rate band for beneficiaries that are not “exempt” from inheritance tax, and then use the spouse exemption for say the family home. This can mean there is very little inheritance tax to pay.

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For more information please contact our Tax specialist Alison Phillips at: alison.phillips@bloomsbury-law.com or call us on +44 (0)207 998 7777.