Wills, Probate, Care of the Elderly

Wills and Probate

For Contested Wills click here.

WE OFFER FIXED FEES FOR WILLS, PROBATES AND LASTING POWER OF ATTORNEY! PLEASE ENQUIRE FOR DETAILS ON 0191 213 10 10

 

Overview
Our wills and probate department covers all aspects of preparing wills and dealing with a person's assets after they have died.  We also give advice on bringing claims against an estate and on defending an estate against such claims.  We deal with the Court of Protection and The Office of the Public Guardian, in work that includes Powers of Attorney, Deputyship orders and Statutory Wills.

We all know the importance of making a Will and it is all too easy to put off. Making a Will has at last been made simple. We offer a complete service in Will drafting as well as assistance with probate and inheritance tax matters. At all times we seek to provide:-

Efficient and courteous service – we can visit you at home if you live locally, or take your instructions over the telephone.

A Will made in quick and easy steps – same day service can usually be provided for urgent cases. We do all of the work for you.

A Will tailor-made for you, drafted to meet your own circumstances.

Complete peace of mind that everything has been covered.

 

Please feel free to call us on 0191 2131010 and ask to speak to someone in our Wills and Probate department. Alternatively please use the contact form here.

For further information on the Wills and Probate services that we provide please expand the sections below: 

 

1. Your Will

Why make a will?
Between 50% and 65% of people in England and Wales die without any Will or with a faulty will (usually home made). As a result they leave their loved ones with what may be unnecessary, complicated and expensive problems, at the time when they are least able to deal with them.

Worse, if you die without a Will, the law will decide who will get your property. This often means that the people who you wish to benefit will not receive what you would like them to get. A wife or husband does not always inherit everything. Under the current law if you are not married but in a long term relationship your partner will not be entitled to anything. In some cases, all you own goes to the Government, or to distant relatives you may never have heard of.

Making a Will is a simple process for most of us. Besides ensuring that the people (or charities) you wish to benefit will do so, you can:-

Appoint an Executor who deals with all the paperwork on your family’s behalf.

Create trusts to hold money safely for your children until they are at an age when you want them to inherit.

Say who you want to look after your children should they be left without a parent.

Give particular items (such as jewellery) to individuals.

Make specific gifts of money to people or organisations.

Arrange for persons to be able to live in your house, and avoid possible homelessness of a relative or dependant after you have died.

Give your business to the persons you want.

Leave to people with a mental or physical disability in a way which will not affect any means tested benefits that they may receive.

In many cases, reduce or avoid tax.

Prevent your property from going to persons you would not like it to.

Why Use a Solicitor?
Even the simplest Will has to comply with legal formalities and therefore to ensure that it is correct you should make it through a Solicitor. A Solicitor can put into precise legal language your wishes so there can be no doubt as to what you mean.

We sometimes see Wills which are ambiguous, or produce results by their wording that we believe that the persons who made them would not have wanted.

We also see Wills which are not properly executed (although no doubt the persons who made them thought they were) and therefore have no legal validity. A great majority of these Wills are either home-made ones or ones that people have tried to make themselves using a commercial form.

Written instructions are no substitute for personal professional advice.

2. Help After Somebody Dies

Personal representatives are the people named in the Will to act as the Executors, or the “next of kin” of somebody who has left no Will. Being a personal representative has heavy responsibilities and can be legally difficult. This is quite apart from the fact that after the loss of someone close to you, dealing with these matters may prove personally distressing.

With this in mind we can relieve you of the burden of “getting probate” to help you to ensure that the wishes of the deceased person are followed. We can give advice on all aspects of winding up a deceased person’s estate, including selling the house or transferring it to the persons entitled.

Dealing with a deceased person’s tax can be complicated and is often a specialist’s job. We can advise on the payment of Inheritance Tax, and deal with the Income Tax affairs of a person both before death and in the period of the administration of the estate.

We can offer professional advice to personal representatives so that they can be sure that they comply with their duty to all the people mentioned in the Will.

It is sometimes possible to save a considerable amount of Inheritance Tax after a person has died by means of changing the effect of the Will or the intestacy. This needs specialist advice which we are happy to provide.

3. Lasting Powers of Attorney

Have you considered who would manage your affairs if you became physically or mentally incapable of handling things yourself?

Many people have had the foresight and wisdom to ask us, as Solicitors, to prepare a Lasting Power of Attorney in order to minimise the problems should the situation arise.  Many people think that it is only necessary to consider creating a Power of attorney if they are old but that is not the case, illness or injury can strike at any time and it is sensible to create a Power of Attorney when you are fit and active so that it can take effect if you were unfortunately physically or mentally incapable of looking after your affairs.  The Power of Attorney would only become exercisable if you were incapable and it is too late to wait until you are unable to manage your affairs to create one.  This is why we recommend a lasting Power of Attorney to everyone.

It is a fairly simple document for which we charge very reasonable fees and with it you can be sure that the person or persons you want and trust will manage your affairs should you be unable to do so yourself, for whatever reason.

Such a document can save a lot of trouble and expense as without it, it may be difficult for your relatives to handle your affairs for you.

Should you know somebody who has become mentally incapable, say because of old age, you may yourself have to handle their affairs. If they have not made a Lasting Power of Attorney we can advise on the alternative, a Deputyship Order with the Court of Protection which will allow you to manage your friend or relative’s affairs for their own good. We give practical help in this sometimes complex area of law.


Contact: Lucy Girdlestone
    
email:    lucy.girdlestone@mckeagandco.com    Tel: 0191 213 1010

Alternatively please use our contact form.