Whilst not always an easy subject to think about, it’s important to ensure that your loved ones will be taken care of after your death, and to consider what will happen if you are ever unable to look after yourself, your finances or your business.
Having suitable arrangements in place is reassuring for you and your family, and this doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. We can help you to plan for your future with a friendly, straightforward approach that ensures tailored protection for your loved ones and your assets.
- Probate & Estate Administration
- Business Succession Planning
- Powers of Attorney
- Court of Protection
A Will gives you control over what happens to your home, money and other assets when you die. It is the only way to ensure that your assets go to who you want them to, and to minimise tax implications. Without a Will, the law decides who receives what under the rules of intestacy.
Making a Will now, and keeping it under regular review every few years, can avoid a lot of unnecessary complications for your loved ones when you die. We’ll make the process simple, with our Will writing services starting from £185 plus VAT for a single Will and discounted rates if you need a Will for two or more family members.
Download our Why make a Will? guide for further information.
Dealing with the assets and finances of someone who has died can be a daunting prospect at a difficult time for you. It can be made even more complicated if the deceased did not leave a Will.
Whether there is a Will or not, we’ll help you through the process of obtaining a grant of probate or letters of administration. This gives you the authority to ensure that payments and taxes are paid correctly, and that the estate is fully collected and distributed fairly and legally.
Download Your Guide to Probate to learn more.
What if the Will is in dispute?
If you are in the unlucky position of being involved with a Will which is disputed, or if you are disputing the validity of a Will yourself, we have the expertise to help and advise you on the grounds for challenging a Will or defending a challenge to the Will.
Steps must be taken quickly to prevent a grant of probate being issued, and it may sometimes be necessary to start court proceedings in order to resolve the dispute. We can help you through this whole process.
What if you have been unfairly left out of a Will?
We can advise you if there are grounds to challenge the Will as above or whether you have a claim under the Inheritance Act 1975 which, in very limited circumstances, allows people to ask the court to change the terms of a Will (or the rules of intestacy) if it does not provide them with reasonable financial provision. Again, we can guide and represent you through the whole process.
Can a Will be changed if it is no longer suitable?
If someone dies leaving a Will which for some reason is no longer suitable for the beneficiaries, sometimes the Will can be changed by a deed of variation. Every beneficiary affected by the intended changes has to agree to them. We can help you with the negotiation of any changes and the drafting and completion of the deed confirming the agreement reached.
If you own or part-own a business, you’ll want to ensure that your interests go to those intended in the event of your death. This can bring important implications for inheritance tax relief and we can advise on ways to maximise this.
Business and agricultural interests can be dealt with in your Will by a discretionary Will Trust, which may offer additional tax savings and flexibility.
Trusts are usually set up as a way of holding assets (such as property, cash or shares) until the beneficiary is ready to take control. They are often used to look after assets until children or grandchildren reach a certain age, or if the person setting them up wishes to give the trustee the discretion to benefit one or more of the named beneficiaries, according to need and other considerations.
Trusts can be used to protect your family’s assets, and to pass on money or property during or after your life. There are various types of trusts - we will advise you on the best one for your individual circumstances.
We also administer trusts and provide advice and support for lay trustees, including regular trustee meetings involving other professionals such as accountants or financial advisers where relevant, drafting the appropriate resolutions, and ensuring that the trust’s tax affairs and other legal obligations are kept up to date.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that enables another person to act on your behalf should you ever lose the ability to make your own decisions. There are two types - one looks after your medical care and living arrangements, whilst the other takes care of your property and finances.
Like an insurance policy, a Lasting Power of Attorney might never be needed, but if it is then your family will benefit from having one in place. It avoids a potentially expensive and drawn out application to the Court of Protection to appoint someone to act on your behalf.
We can explain the many options available, draft the documents, register them at the Office of the Public Guardian and provide ongoing advice to you or your attorney if their appointment becomes active.
Business Powers of Attorney
If you are a director, partner or sole trader, losing the ability to manage your affairs because of an accident or the sudden onset of a debilitating illness can be catastrophic for your business. Who will have the legal authority to run things and make decisions on your behalf? How will the bank be reassured that the business is still viable without you? Who will satisfy your suppliers that they will still be paid, or your customers that the business will still deliver? What if the business struggles on without you or a competent attorney, and your shareholders or partners suffer loss as a result? Compensation might be payable.
Making a Business Power of Attorney allows you to appoint a competent person of your choice (rather than someone else’s) to continue the operation of your business without interruption in accordance with guidelines set by you.
We can help by advising on the issues you need to consider, drafting the Power of Attorney and registering it with the Office of the Public Guardian. Where appropriate, we will liaise with Grindeys’ corporate department to ensure that your wishes are compatible with your company’s articles or partnership agreement, and to advise on any necessary changes.
If a loved one loses the ability to manage their affairs without having previously made a Power of Attorney, it might be that the only route available for the management of their affairs is an application to the Court of Protection for the appointment of a Deputy. We can guide you through this process and address any questions which the court might ask along the way.
Your appointment as Deputy is just the start of the process. We offer half-yearly reviews to ensure that you are carrying out all necessary duties as Deputy. These include ensuring that your loved one has the welfare benefits they are entitled to, their tax affairs are up to date, their bills are paid, their living arrangements are suitable and that all is in order with the annual report you have to send each year to the Office of the Public Guardian.
Is this all the Court of Protection does?
No. The Court of Protection has a very wide jurisdiction to make decisions about the property, finances and general wellbeing of people who are unable to make decisions for themselves. These include the appointment of trustees if a person lacking capacity owns land with someone else, deciding whether a Power of Attorney is valid, removing attorneys if they are unsuitable, and even making a Statutory Will on behalf of someone who lacks capacity if their own Will is either unsuitable or no Will has been made.
We have the experience to help you through the process of dealing with all these matters, and many others which fall under the jurisdiction of the Court of Protection.