Wills, Probate & Powers of Attorney

Wills 

What is a will? Do I need a will? 

Most people do not realise the importance of making a will to ensure that their estate passes in accordance with their wishes. Where a person dies without preparing a will their estate is distributed in accordance with the intestacy rules. These rules do not offer any flexibility and can result in the family home having to be sold. Furthermore, unmarried partners are not entitled to receive any property under the intestacy rules. 

To avoid these problems everyone should ensure that they have a will prepared by a professional. We will ensure that your will is prepared promptly and in the correct way to ensure that your estate passes in accordance with your wishes. We also provide advice on how best to manage your estate so as to minimise any tax liability.

 

Probate

Do you need to know how to get probate? Or challenge a will?

When a loved one passes, there are many issues that can arise when dealing with their estate and making sure property passes to the correct people. These may include:

  • Securing the assets of the estate
  • Calculation and payment of inheritance tax, including valuation of assets
  • Locating people entitled to inherit under a will
  • People not named in the will trying to claim against the estate or contest a will
  • Where there is no will, dividing the estate properly under the intestacy rules

These issues can be complex and it is important that they are dealt with correctly when you apply for probate otherwise you may be personally liable. We will deal with these matters on your behalf so as to help you through what is clearly a difficult and emotional time.

 

Powers of Attorney

Are you thinking of getting power of attorney for a loved one?

Powers of attorney allow someone else to manage your affairs on your behalf. Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs) and Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) enable you to give someone else the power to manage your affairs if you are no longer capable of doing so yourself due to mental illness.

Most people do not like to consider the prospect of suffering from mental illness. However, we never know what might happen in the future. EPAs and LPAs can only be made while a person is still of sound mind, so it is better to plan for the future and make one sooner rather than later. It is one less thing that your loved ones will have to worry about if anything does happen in the future because they will know that your affairs are being properly managed. Every power of attorney (EPAs and LPAs) now has to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. This makes it easier to ensure attorneys act in the best interests of the person giving the power and do not abuse their position.

We offer a fixed fee service at a competitive rate for preparing powers of attorney and registering them with the Office of the Public Guardian. We also advise attorneys on what they can and cannot do under their attorneyship and assist them where needed in carrying out their responsibilities.

 

The Court of Protection

If a person is suffering from a mental illness and has not made an Enduring Power of Attorney or a Lasting Power of Attorney, anyone who wishes to take on responsibility for managing that person’s affairs will have to make an application to the Court of Protection to be appointed as a deputy. The role of a deputy is essentially the same as that of an attorney under an EPA or LPA but the court will determine what the deputy can and cannot do, having regard to what is in the best interests of the person whose affairs are being managed.

A Court of Protection application can also be made if a person has not made a will and no longer has capacity to do so. The Court can consider what that person might have wanted to include in their will and then make a will for them. This is called a statutory will.

We offer advice and assistance for all of these matters and we will represent you at court so that you have continuity of representation.

 

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