Wills, trusts and probate
A will is one of the most important documents you can have, and making one is an effective way of ensuring your wishes will be carried out, your loved ones will be provided for and the causes you care about will be taken care of after your death. Having a will also helps to minimise further stress for your family and the people closest to you, during what can be a difficult and emotional time.
Why should you make a will?
If you don’t leave a will behind, then your estate will be distributed under the Intestacy Rules; you’ll have no control over your estate and this could mean that the people who should inherit, or who you’d like to have inherited from your estate, may not receive anything.
Having a will may also be an effective tool in minimising the amount of Inheritance Tax paid from your estate.
There are many reasons to seek professional advice when considering making a will. Whilst cheap, homemade wills may seem attractive, accuracy in drafting is essential and something as mundane as a grammatical error can entirely change the meaning of a gift in a will.
If your financial or family circumstances are complicated, then it is all the more important to get professional assistance in making your will.
What is a trust?
A trust is a legal mechanism of moving property away from your estate. Trusts can be included in wills or set up separately during your lifetime, and are particularly useful if you want to ensure that there is some protection around the property placed in trust.
Trusts can be complicated to set up and have tax implications, so it is important to seek professional advice when considering setting up a trust. You should be particularly wary of so called asset protection trusts that purport to save you care costs and probate fees.
What is probate?
A Grant of Probate is an order issued by the Family Court, which confirms that a will is valid and that the executors of the will have the authority to administer the estate.
When a person dies without leaving a will, it may be necessary to apply for Grant of Letters of Administration, which authorises the applicant to administer the deceased’s estate.
Occasionally, the administration of an estate may be complicated by a claim by someone who thinks that they were entitled to more. In these circumstances professional advice is essential.
If you would like further information on making a will, setting up a trust, or advice on probate, please contact us on 023 9238 8021 or fill in the enquiry form.