Wills, Trusts & Probate Solicitors
Chattertons’ team of Wills, Trusts and Probate solicitors is one of the largest in the region.
Every year, we prepare more than 2,500 Wills for our clients, helping them minimise tax liabilities and preserve assets for their families. It is a process that we make as easy as possible for individuals, many of whom need a helping hand to understand the finer details of their estate, and how best to manage it.
This is all part of ensuring that the very most is made of the value of your existing finances and your property. Aside from working with clients to ensure that the right people stand to benefit in the right ways once you have passed away, our Wills, Trusts and Probate solicitors advise on ways of getting financial affairs in order. A large part of this wealth management exercise is finding the most beneficial ways of structuring the ownership of assets to reduce the tax liabilities that must be met during your lifetime, and those that your loved ones will inherit.
The benefit of working with specialists like us extends beyond getting the right arrangements in place. Estate administration is a natural extension of what we do; we advise on probate and on the distribution of assets to those named in a Will or, if no Will had been made, to those entitled by law to benefit from the estate.
Particular specialisms include:
- Probate and the administration of estates
- Lasting Powers of Attorney
- Court of Protection
- Care home fees
- Inheritance Tax planning
- Contesting a Will
- Selling property
- Property gifts and transfers
- Wealth management
- Protecting family businesses
Clients often ask us....
Do I need a Will?
Nobody has to make a Will. However, if you have friends, a family, or other people or organisations that you would like to pass your assets on to, then a Will is the best way of ensuring that that will happen. If you die without having made a Will, the laws of intestacy will apply. That means that your estate will be divided according to a strict set of rules, which could lead to the ‘wrong’ people benefiting.
There are two additional benefits of making a Will. The first is that it usually makes it far easier to administer your estate (divide it up). In your Will, you will specify an executor, or executors, to handle this. They could be a family member, a friend, or a professional. And they will be guided by the terms of your Will, and by lawyers like us who can help iron out any problems.
The second benefit is that a Will gives peace of mind that you have put the best measures in place for the future. That can be a great comfort, as well as a practical step in the right direction. And once you have made your Will, remember to update it as your ownership of assets changes, or where family events cause you to reassess your plans. This could follow the birth of a grandchild, a breakdown in a family relationship, or simply a wish to include a new beneficiary.
How much does a Will cost?
Our Wills, Trusts and Probate solicitors offer a banded fixed fee Will-writing service*. We regularly review these fees to ensure that they remain competitive and represent good value for money.
What is probate?
Probate is the process of dealing with the property, money, possessions, and liabilities of someone who has died. This job falls to the executor appointed in the Will. The executor collects in the assets of the estate, notifies all relevant authorities, and settles debts, ensures inheritance and other taxes are properly ascertained as well as making sure that each named beneficiary receives their entitlement.
It is not an altogether straightforward process, and it is something that our specialist Wills, Trusts and Probate solicitors are frequently called on to help executors carry out. We are also here to help with contested Wills and estates; disputes that arise over the contents of a Will or the distribution of assets.
What is a trust?
A trust is a legal arrangement that helps control and protect family assets. A portion of an estate is transferred to a trustee who is responsible for managing the trust and passing the asset held on trust to the beneficiary when the time comes (when the beneficiary has turned 18, for example). A key benefit of a trust is the tax efficiency that it can create; parents often look to transfer certain assets to trusts in order to reduce the inheritance tax liability that their children will be required to meet.
For more information on how a trust could benefit your family, get in touch with the team of solicitors and tax advisors at Chattertons.
How can I help protect the interests of a family member who I suspect is showing early signs of Alzheimer’s?
It may prove vital that steps are taken now, while your family member still has mental capacity, to safeguard their future. A Lasting Power of Attorney could be the answer. This is a legal document, made by a person who has mental capacity and which appoints one or more attorneys to make certain decisions on their behalf in the event that mental capacity becomes lost. We regularly put these in place for clients, both in situations where there are concerns about future mental health and in situations where our client simply wants to plan for all possible eventualities. We would recommend speaking with one of our Wills, Trusts and Probate solicitors as soon as possible.
If you would like to talk to one of our specialist Wills, Trusts and Probate lawyers, complete our online enquiry form, or contact your local Chattertons office.
*Tier banded fees reflect the complexity of your requirements.