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Why is it important to make a Will?
Your Will is perhaps the most important legal document you will make. With careful planning, it can help you to secure a future for those you leave behind. If you do not leave a Will, the law decides who will inherit your property. This may not be what you want, and it is unlikely to provide adequately for your family.
Wills are often straightforward and can be written easily, whether you are single or married. However, some Wills require special technical knowledge.
Our specialist Will lawyer team can advise you on guardianship, Statutory Wills, planning for inheritance tax and forming trusts. We also have experience of planning suitable Wills for second marriages, unmarried couples who own property or run a business together. If you have assets in multiple jurisdictions or you or your parents were born abroad then this will need to be taken into account when making a Will.
If you wish to leave your estate to a charity or a professional, we offer an executor and trustee service too. Call us today to discuss Will and Lasting Power of Attorney.
A Will makes it much easier for your family or friends to deal with your estate when you die – without a Will the process can be time consuming, expensive and stressful. In addition, a Will can help reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax that may be payable on the value of the property and money you leave behind.
When to make a Will?
You can make a Will any time after you are 18 years old. There are also some life events that are often triggers for the preparation of a Will:
It is a good idea to review an existing Will every five years to keep it in line with any changes in your family circumstances and changes in taxation laws.
What happens if you don’t leave a Will?
Our Probate Services
We assist with all types of wills and probate matters, including but not limited to the following:
Dealing with a bereavement is difficult enough but sometimes you might also be required to handle the administration of a loved one’s estate.
You may have to arrange the funeral, go through personal papers to find out what assets and debts there may be, apply to the probate registry and deal with beneficiaries and other family members. Being a personal representative of an estate can be an onerous task. Our experienced probate solicitors can help by advising personal representatives on what to do and even deal with the entire estate on your behalf.
We aim to make our estate administration pricing as transparent as possible. We strive to achieve this by offering fixed prices for our probate services rather than charging hourly rates or complex percentage rates.
If you would like to speak to a specialist, please call us on 020 3773 5116 for a no-obligation initial chat with one of our friendly advisors.
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you (the Donor) appoint someone you trust as an ‘attorney’ to make decisions on your behalf about things such as your property and affairs or personal welfare at a time in the future when you no longer wish to make those decisions or you may lack the mental capacity to make those decisions yourself.
There may come a time when, because you are unable to manage your property and financial affairs or personal welfare, you will need someone to do this for you. You can formally appoint a friend, relative or professional to hold a Lasting Power of Attorney that will allow them to act on your behalf. Our experienced lawyers can give you clear and helpful advice about creating your Lasting Power of Attorney.
A Lasting Power of Attorney protects your best interests and the best interests of your loved ones. If you wish to discuss your Lasting Power of Attorney, speak to an expert solicitor at Imperial Solicitors today. We not only have the expertise you need to create a Lasting Power of Attorney that secures you legally, but care deeply about your welfare and the best interest of your loved ones. Call us on 020 3773 5116 for a no obligation initial chat.
A declaration of trust is an agreement created when assets such as property, shares or money are transferred to a small group of people known as ‘trustees’ to be held on behalf of one or more people who are the ‘beneficiaries’ of the trust.
Our legal experts can create a declaration of trust expertly based on your needs. Our specialist declaration of trust solicitors are on hand to help you with any enquiries you have about trusts and advise you on how to progress with your trust.
For further information or to arrange an appointment call us on 020 3773 5116 for a no obligation initial chat with one of our advisors or complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will contact you directly.
Timely action may save your heirs from having to pay large amounts of tax. We may advise you to use a trust, either to save Inheritance Tax or provide an element of control in special cases, such as where a beneficiary is unable to look after his or her own affairs.
Inheritance tax could have an impact on your estate if the value of your assets less your debts is greater than the inheritance tax threshold (£325,000 this tax year).
Through careful planning you can ensure that maximum use is made of your inheritance tax ‘allowance’ available on death. An inheritance tax efficient Will is a good starting point and, in most people’s cases, could be all that is needed.
To speak to a member of our probate team in relation to inheritance tax planning, please call 020 3773 5116.
Contact our Wills & Probate Solicitors in Morden, Surrey to discuss wills today. Call 020 3773 5116 or email us at [email protected].
We are located at a 2-minute walk from Morden Underground Station, conveniently accessible from Central London on Northern Line.
Questions? You’re covered.
A Will is a legal document which declares who will manage your estate and how your property will be distributed when you die.
No, however it is highly recommended that you use one. There are specific requirements which must be met when making a Will and it is a solicitor’s job to make sure they are met. If your Will is not written correctly it may be invalid and your property will be distributed as if you died intestate. Another risk is that your Will may be valid but the legal interpretation may not reflect your intentions at the time of writing. A solicitor will ensure your Will reflects how you want your property to be dealt with, and that the Will is valid. Their knowledge of inheritance tax planning is also useful.
Dying without a Will is called intestacy. There are rules as to how your property will be distributed depending on your family circumstances. The dispositions will be determined by whether you have a spouse or civil partner, and/or children. In some circumstances your parents, grandchildren, siblings and nieces and nephews can inherit.
A Will does not have an expiry date. However, it is advisable to review your will periodically. If you acquire new property, or there are changes in your circumstances such as a marriage, your Will should be changed to reflect your circumstances.
A joint Will cannot be made in the sense that there cannot be just one document. However, spouses can make Wills which dispose of property in an identical way. These are called mirror Wills and each testator can alter his or her Will. These Wills can be made in a legally binding, contractual agreement by inserting provisions into the Wills that the testators will not alter their Wills. There can be alterations by mutual agreement while the testators are still alive, but mutual Wills will usually include provisions which will sanction the testator who alters his or her Will after the other testator has died.
It will vary depending on how complicated the Will needs to be. A solicitor will charge upwards of £150 for a basic Will.
There needs to be sufficient identification that the Will is yours. The usual things included in a Will are distributions of property, arrangements for looking after your children (if they are under 18), an executor (the person who manages your estate after you die) and what should happen if the people who you want to receive property die before you do. You can include conditions on dispositions and create a trust in the Will. Your Will needs to revoke all prior Wills. Your solicitor will ensure that all the necessary inclusions are provided for, as well as any additions you want to make which are particular to your circumstances. There must be two witnesses present when you sign the Will and they must also sign it.
Absolutely. If you die without a Will your de-facto partner will not inherit any of your property unless you are beneficial joint tenants in property you both own.
You can appoint any person (over the age of 18) of your choice.
The inheritance tax rate is 40% of the value of the estate which is over £325,000. It will be paid by the executor using the estate’s funds. Inheritance tax will not be charged if it is stated in your Will that your property is to go to solely to your spouse or civil partner. If you die intestate there may be dispositions to other family members and tax will be charged on this.
If you have a life insurance policy this should be put into a trust. Trusts can be utilised in other ways to avoid inheritance tax. Additionally, if you make tax-exempt gifts to your intended beneficiaries at least 7 years before your death, these dispositions will not be calculated as part of your estate.
You can choose who carries out your wishes (your Executors). You can set out whom you wish to benefit from your estate and in what proportions. A Will can allow you to set up a fund to benefit people long after you have passed away (a trust). You can benefit charities if you want. A Will provides certainty as to what is to happen to you and can give guidance to your views on organ donation. This can be of much help to relatives at a difficult time.
A Will is your wish. There is no point doing one if people can simply change it after you’ve gone. Sometimes people may try to challenge or “contest” a Will. People may argue that someone did not understand what they were doing when they made their Will or that they were pushed into it. Sometimes a person may have been left out of a Will (by accident or on purpose) when that person was reliant on the person who has died for money and financial support. In these circumstances the law can allow certain people to try to claim from an estate. It is very important therefore that you take legal advice when doing a Will. With vast experience in Will drafting and estate administration, we can help you avoid possible pitfalls.
It is advisable to review your Will generally every five or six years. There may be many reasons though which mean you should review your Will. You may have married since you made your last Will (in which case your Will may actually have been revoked) or you may be divorcing or separating. You may have children or more children or grandchildren now and want to include them in your Will. Your wealth may have gone up and Inheritance Tax could affect you now. Has the value of your house gone up in the last five or six years? If you need to alter your Will you should seek legal advice. We can recommend whether you need a new Will or simply a Codicil. You should not attempt to alter your own existing Will or attach anything to it. This could cause your Will to be void or give many problems to your Executors.
You can try, but many of the problems encountered with Wills often come from “home-made” Wills. The Probate Registry will usually have to approve the Will before your estate can be collected in. Incomplete signatures, not enough witnesses, pages missing, no date, wrong names, ineffective gifts and not revoking an earlier Will are a few examples of things which can go wrong if you have not sought legal advice for the preparation of your Will.