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Terry Jones Solicitors deal with preparation of Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, administration of estates and estate preservation. We recommend to all our clients of whatever age or status that they should make a Will. It is reputed that only 1 in 3 of the population has made a Will which means that when two thirds of the population dies, next of kin will have to be located and will be responsible for the administration of the estate. This does not automatically result in the husband or wife of the deceased party inheriting the whole estate. There are restrictions laid down under the rules of Intestacy.
Should you have any queries regarding this area of law please do not hesitate to contact us via the enquiry form at the bottom of this page.
Our Service To You:
To request more information or have a Wills & Probate adviser contact you, ring our specialists who will be happy to see you to discuss your requirements in greater detail.
What Happens If I Die without Having Made A Will?
If you have not made a Will, then you are deemed to have died ”intestate” and under the rules of intestacy the whole of your estate would not necessarily pass to your spouse or civil partner and/or children on death. The rules are somewhat old-fashioned in this regard and, although recently amended to recognise same sex couples, they provide little security for couples who are not married or who have not entered into a civil partnership. If, therefore, you are living with a partner and you die without having made a Will, then, under the rules of intestacy, your partner would not benefit.
Is It Costly To Draw Up A Will?
Once we know all the relevant facts, we always try to provide an estimate of our cost in advance of the preparation of the Will.
Is There An Ideal Time When A Will Should Be Drawn Up?
We recommend that anybody who owns property, or who is married, or who has children, or who is in employment should draw up a Will irrespective of age. A Will can be used not only to ensure that your wealth and assets pass to the people you want them to, but also can be used to try and reduce any potential tax liability on death.
Is It Advisable That Your Spouse Or Partner Also Draws Up A Will?
This is most important, because if one party dies without having made a Will, the surviving spouse or partner would not necessarily inherit the deceased’s estate. Indeed, if you are not married but you have a partner, it is most important that you both have Wills prepared.
If I Am A Partner In A Business Or Have A Share Holding In A Company, Can These Be Transferred Under A Will?
The answer is simply “yes”. There are obviously Inheritance Tax issues that apply on the transfer of a business on death. However, subject to certain criteria it is possible for you to transfer your business assets on death. Again, this is certainly an issue that should be discussed with your Accountant and/or Financial Advisor.
Once I Have Made My Will Can I Ever Change It?
A Will can be changed at any time. Minor alterations can be dealt with by way of a Codicil which is effectively a small appendix to the Will, or the Will can be re-drawn if your circumstances have changed and you want major alterations to be made to the original Will. In any event, we will recommend that you review your Will at regular intervals, possibly every two to three years or as your circumstances change.
Will There Be Any Tax Payable In The Event That I Die?
This depends partly on the value of your estate at the date of your death; partly on any lifetime measures that you have taken (after receiving legal and financial advice) and partly on how your Will is drafted. At the moment, gifts between spouses are exempt from Inheritance Tax, there is also a personal tax allowance available up to the tax threshold which changes annually. If you die and gift the whole of your estate to your spouse, there will be no tax payable.
Should I Discuss My Will With Anybody Either Before Drawing It Up Or After I Have Signed It?
If you are going to appoint guardians to look after your young children on your death, then obviously it is advisable to discuss this issue with the people you propose to appoint as guardians.
What Should We Do Next?
The first thing we would recommend that you do is to make a list of all your assets and liabilities.
Secondly, we would suggest that you write on a sheet of paper the full names and addresses of everybody who is likely to be mentioned in your Will, whether as guardian, beneficiary, executor etc.
We can assist you with all areas of probate disputes. If, for example, you are a child of a deceased person, or have been maintained by a deceased person and have not received any benefit in the deceased person’s Will, you may have a claim against the estate. Alternatively, if you believe that the deceased’s Will is defective for any reason, you could challenge the validity of the Will. Please contact us if you feel you have a claim against a deceased person’s estate.
What is the Court of Protection?
The Court of Protection is a branch of HM Court Service and has jurisdiction over the property, financial affairs and personal welfare of people who lack mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.
What is the role of the Court of Protection?
The Court of Protection has powers to deal with all matters that relate to persons who are over eighteen years of age and lack the requisite capacity to deal with their finances, personal welfare and other matters such as being capable to make a Will. The Court can appoint a Deputy to deal with that person's affairs and/or personal welfare, Grant an Order for a Statutory Will to be drafted on behalf of the incapacitated person, appoint new Trustees in their place and authorise certain gifts. Personal Welfare issues can cover where a vulnerable person should live and how they are cared for.
The Court of Protection will also decide upon whether the person concerned lacks mental capacity before deciding upon making an Order.
The first step before an application to the Court of Protection therefore would be to obtain a Medical Certificate to ensure that the route of the Court of Protection is applicable as opposed to the person being able to sign a Power of Attorney.
Who can apply to the Court of Protection?
Anybody can apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as a Deputy but usually it would be a family member. The same persons can also apply for a Statutory Will and all other relevant applications. The appointed person would have to be over the age of eighteen years.
If a Lasting Power of Attorney or an Enduring Power of Attorney has already been created by the person who has been deemed to have lost capacity then the Court of Protection will not need to be involved. This is something that we advise upon.
How we can help?
We deal with all Court of Protection Applications ranging from the preparation of papers for the appointment of a Deputy to deal with financial affairs and personal welfare to the removal of the incapacitated person as a Trustee and drafting Statutory Will applications.
24hr Emergency Line: Need to speak to someone urgently? Call us on 07850 033551 or 07921 694246