WILLS

Each year the Government reap a staggering £25million in unclaimed estates. Making a Will is the only way of ensuring your wishes are carried out. This leaves you and your loved ones with peace of mind and certainty for the future.

If you die without a Will you are deemed to have died ‘intestate’. The law sets out that property belonging to an intestate person is inherited according to a strict set of rules known as the ‘intestacy rules’. These rules dictate who will benefit from your estate. Potentially your estate could pass to a family member who you are estranged from, or worse if your family cannot be located, it could pass to the Government.

If you die without a Will your closest living relative won’t necessarily inherit your entire estate. Leaving it to chance is simply not an option.

By making a Will you can appoint who you want to be in charge of administering your estate. This person is known as your Executor and can be a family member, friend or someone completely independent like a professional. Your Executor will be responsible for collecting your assets, settling debts, finalising tax affairs and distributing your assets in accordance with your wishes. Your Executor will also be responsible for arranging your funeral and your Will can detail any specific funeral wishes that you may have.

You should consider who you want to benefit after your death. Thought should be given to those persons who are financially dependant upon you. We can give you guidance on this point.

For those of you who have infant children you should make a Will appointing guardians for them and make clear what your wishes are relating to the health and welfare of your children for example, who will look after them and any views you have relating to religion and education etc. You may also want to make provision for pets.

We live in a time where family dynamics and assets can be complex – people are involved in second marriages and may have children from different relationships. We all need to consider providing proper financial support to those loved ones that are financially dependant upon us to avoid unnecessary conflict between family members and financial claims being made against our estate after our death.

Carefully drafted wills can also ensure that your loved ones get the benefit of your wealth without it effecting any state benefits they receive, or your wealth being wiped out in payment of your loved ones care fees in the event they require care in the future.

We have a friendly and expert team of practitioners ready to offer advice and assistance to you. Contact us to arrange an appointment. We are one of the few firms in this area that are able to prepare Wills under the Legal Help scheme. We will apply for legal aid on your behalf where appropriate.

PROBATE AND ADMINISTRATION OF ESTATES

The loss of a loved one is understandably a difficult time. Dealing with the administration of the estate can be a daunting prospect on a practical and emotional level.

Here at Bryan & Armstrong we are sympathetic and understanding of your needs at this time. We are aware that despite your depth of sorrow there are procedures and processes that have to be undergone.

Bryan & Armstrong’s Bereavement Service will allow you the space and time to grieve the loss of your loved one. We can offer practical help with the following to make a difference:

  • registering the death
  • liasing with asset holders and creditors
  • arranging payment from the estate for the funeral account.
  • notifying pension providers and government agencies.
  • assistance for house clearance
  • arrangements for pets
  • obtaining Probate
  • liasing with the Revenue
  • setting up and assisting in the administration of trusts created under a Will or intestacy

However, we also recognise some people cope better with their loss by keeping busy. We discuss with you your personal requirements and our flexible approach means you can take advantage of as much or as little of our service as suits your needs.

PROBATE FEES

View our probate fees page to see a list of our fixed fees and hourly rates for estate administration. To meet the team, please visit our probate website profiles.

‘The service was very caring and professional I would certainly recommend to anyone needing will and estate planning advice’ – Trevor Higman

INHERITANCE TAX PLANNING

Generally, inheritance tax is relevant in net estates that exceed £325,000. You will need to provide us with details relating to lifetime gifts and the nature and extent of your assets. This will enable us to consider with you any inheritance tax issues that you may have.

Taking positive steps now could prevent financial loss to your estate.

CONTENTIOUS PROBATE

Whilst most estates are administered smoothly and problem free, when family disputes arise surrounding bereavement these can be very bitter and upsetting. However, notwithstanding this, these types of cases are on the increase.

Disputes can arise for a variety of reasons from, who should have the power to administer the estate to, challenging and defending the validity of a will.

Our team has experience in acting for both claimants and those administering the estate in cases including:

  • entering caveats early to halt the administration of the estate
  • entering warnings to caveats
  • taking and defending Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act claims to ensure fair distribution of the estate for dependants or family members
  • taking and defending claims challenging a will
  • advising on actions against an estate under the Trusts of Land (Appointment of Trustees) Act or claims affecting estate assets under proprietary estoppel.

Our advice to clients who have concerns over an estate is to seek legal advice as early as possible to avoid estate assets being distributed. In addition some claims require the issue of proceedings within six months.

BRYAN & ARMSTRONG’S ASSET PROTECTION TRUST DEED

Figures recently published by the Office for National Statistics in its General Household Survey 2007 show that married couples are set to be minority as more people choose to live out of wedlock. Currently just half of adults are now married, down almost 10% in less than a decade. The figures also show that 15% of couples who are now living together out of wedlock had previously shared a home with at least one previous partner.

With these figures in mind couples purchasing properties are keen to protect the money they invest in a home. We can help you achieve this through Bryan & Armstrong’s Asset Protection Trust Deed. Our bespoke Trust Deed is a legally binding document setting out the terms upon which the property is owned. The Trust Deed will state the individual shares held in the property, be it in equal or unequal shares and whether or not they are going to be legal owners onn the Land Registry title. Our Trust Deed can make provision to protect any lump sum that a party invests in a property and can state that they recover that lump sum in the event the property is sold. It is an insurance policy to ensure everyone can recover what they invest in the property even if that investment cannot be seen on the legal title documents.

The Asset Protection Trust Deed can even cover points such as which party is making what contributions to paying the mortgage or who is paying for improvements to the property. This means that if one party is contributing after purchasing the property they can still make sure that they are given credit for additional payments. Having an asset protection trust deed prepared will not hold-up the process of purchasing a property.

Entering into an Asset Protection Trust Deed is not limited to just cohabiting couples. You should consider having one prepared if; you are investing in a property which someone else is going to live in e.g. parents helping children get their foot on the property ladder; you have brought a property with a friend; someone is moving in with you and you want to protect that equity you already have in your home; or you are moving in with someone else and you are investing money in their property.

We also offer advice on powers of attorney, court of protection work and deeds of gift.

Email: enquiries@bryanandarmstrong.co.uk

‘My wife and I recently wanted to update our wills. A friend of ours recommended Catherine Walker at Bryan & Armstrong, and we are so pleased that she did!  Catherine was excellent’ – Lee & Joanne Hennell

 

THE WILLS, PROBATE, TAX AND TRUSTS TEAM

CATHERINE WALKER TEP
CATHERINE WALKER TEP
Get in touch with Catherine to find out more, or to book an appointment.
LAUREN GRIFFITHS
LAUREN GRIFFITHS
Get in touch with Lauren to find out more, or to book an appointment.
SARA DESFORGES
SARA DESFORGES
Get in touch with Sara to find out more, or to book an appointment.
GRACE WEBSTER
GRACE WEBSTER
Get in touch with Grace to find out more, or to book an appointment.
LAUREN HALL
LAUREN HALL
Get in touch with Lauren to find out more, or to book an appointment.

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