Trusts are a valuable and increasingly popular way of ring-fencing your assets and protecting them for future generations. There are many types of trust and we are happy to discuss your needs and match them with the options available. One example is given below:
Property Protection Trusts (PPT)
A major concern for many older people is that after many years of paying off their mortgage and planning a good inheritance for their children, their home may be ultimately unfairly used to fund care costs in later life. This may happen if you have just made a simple mirror Will.
On first death, your home will default to your surviving partner. If the survivor then goes into care and no other assets are available to fund care costs, the Local Authority will means-test 100% of the property value and this may lead to an unwanted sale of the property.
A Protective Property Trust (PPT) can help you protect your share of the home and ensure that it is passed on to the people you care about.
What is a Will?Put simply, a Will is an important legal document, officially signed and witnessed, where an adult sets out how they want their estate (including possessions and property) to be distributed after their death.
Do I need a Will?The short answer is yes! A Will is very important, particularly if you have you have children, own a property, have savings, a pension or other investments or benefits, valuable family belongings, or other items you want to pass on to your children or loved ones. A Will can safeguard those items and ensure your requests are meet.
What can be in a Will?There are several things that can be included in your Will: Ensure property, valuables and personal possessions go to the right people It can help with appointing and instructing guardians for your young children Set out gifts to loved ones, charities, stepchildren, friends, grandchildren who may not automatically benefit without a Will Specify funeral requests Help with tax planning Help make provisions for disabled people Set an inheritance age for children (if you feel 18 is too young) Make provisions for pets Pass on business or other assets to separate parties Offer comfort, security and peace of mind Avoid claims from estranged partners or step families Protect your hard earned assets for future generations Keep the peace amongst relatives
What if I don't have a Will?Making a Will is simple and taking a few minutes to put your affairs in order will not only give you peace of mind but also save your family a great deal of administrative stress and potentially taxes. Without a properly executed valid Will the rules of intestacy would apply. These can be complex depending on the deceased’s personal circumstances and surviving relatives, but very broadly and simply speaking, in a married couple the husband, wife or civil partner keeps all the assets (including property*), up to £322,000, and all the deceased’s personal possessions, whatever their value. The remainder of the estate will be shared as follows: the husband, wife or civil partner gets an absolute interest in half of the remainder the other half is then divided equally between any surviving children, or if they have passed away, grandchildren will inherit in their place, usually with the appointment of Trustees to administer until they reach the age of inheritance. If there are no surviving decedents (whether estranged or still in contact) then the spouse or civil partner inherits all the estate. However, without a Will, inheritance would take longer and this does not take advantage of any possible tax breaks so the full value of the estate may not be realised.
What is a Mirror Will?Mirror Wills are a set of 2 Wills usually offered to a couple and arranged at the same time. They are used when 2 parties have joint interests eg a home, family and other assets together and would normally be leaving these to each other in the first instance. Both parties having ‘mirror’ copies of the similar Will would ensure that largely the wording, interpretation and instructions to the Executors (who carry out the instructions of the Will) and the appointment of, and any instructions to, Guardians (of children under 18) are replicated for the avoidance of conflict, doubt or misinterpretation.
Can I leave a Gift in my Will?Certainly. Your Will is your opportunity to set out exactly who you want to inherit and many people take time to remember relatives such a grandchildren, friends and charities. However we would advise that particularly sentimental items, those with a value of less than £1,000 or contentious requests are usually best listed in a separate Letter of Wishes which sits with your Will. This would help to avoid the main essence of your Will being called into dispute and delay if there are any complaints, and any updates and changes to your Letter of Wishes can be made by you more easily. We can also advise on the use of Trusts to exclude individuals or protect your assets from unwanted calls from third parties.
What does a Will include?As well as setting out your wishes for the distribution of your estate, your Will can: Make provisions for future unborn children and grandchildren Bequeath gifts Set out funeral requests Make provision for pet care Specify organ donorship Set an inheritance age for minors Include Property Protection Trust specifications to further protect your home and assets. Please do call for further information.
What is Intestacy?Intestacy is the term given when someone dies without a Will. Without a Will, you don't have control over who will inherit your estate and this is defined by a set of rules known as 'The Laws of Intestacy'. The PDF - chart defines what will happen to your estate in the event that you should pass without a Will.
How much will a Will cost?We charge £200 for a single Will or £300 (no VAT) for mirror Wills for a couple. This includes home or office visits at a time convenient to you, unlimited Will advice, details on guardianship and information on Letters of Wishes and other aspects of estate planning as appropriate.
How long does drafting a Will take?We usually like up to 2 weeks to draft your Will and, after you have approved it, get a copy to you for signature and witnessing. However, we can offer a fast-track service if needed.
Where do I keep my Will?Many clients prefer to keep their Wills handy for comfort and ease of reference and also to ensure that it is easily accessible when it is needed, but for added security we can happily store it safely for you under the terms of our Client Care Package. Please note that if your correctly executed original Will cannot be located when the time comes, it will be deemed to not exist and an older Will could be produced and acted upon or the laws of Intestate (having no Will) could apply. Using a secure storage facility ensures that you and your Executors know where it is, so it will not be lost and it will be kept private until it is needed.
Administration and winding up of any Estate involves serious and often complex legal duties and responsibilities.
We help to process probate in an efficient but compassionate way at this upsetting time. We can help with the paperwork, arrange for valuations, help with property sales and transfers, and arrange tax advice before overseeing the distribution of the estate.
As an Executor, you can call on us to work alongside you in an advisory capacity and we will do all we can to ensure matters are processed efficiently and at a fair cost, typically half that of High Street Solicitors.
Many clients ask about safe and secure storage for their Wills, as they want to ensure they are not lost, discovered by the wrong people, damaged or tampered with in any way, which could make them invalid.
If your original Will cannot be produced then even if you have a copy, sadly it cannot be legally actioned and becomes inoperable.
We are pleased to offer safe storage and efficient retrieval facilities. Our storage fees are £40 per annum. We are happy to explain how this works during your consultation but should you have any questions, please ask for further information.
Feel free to download our storage guide here.
Free Initial Consultation and ongoing advice.
Call us on 0800 0622 146
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Our priority is to serve you and ensure you are aware of the options available to protect your assets for generations to come.