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Partner and Head of Family Law, Rugby
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Head of Wills, Trusts and Probate
Estate planning and Wills
Everyone knows they should make a will, but it often languishes near the bottom of the to-do pile.
However, making a Will isn’t as stressful as you might imagine it to be. A Will makes sure that those you care about benefit from your “estate”. That means everything you own and have worked for, after debts have been paid. And with the guidance of a specialist lawyer, it can be a smooth and straightforward process.
It helps to look at this from a different angle. If you die without having made a Will, your estate will be distributed according to law and that runs the very real risk of someone other than those you intended to benefit inheriting your assets.
Our team of Wills, Trusts and Probate lawyers takes time to understand exactly what you own, the people who matter most to you, and the provisions you would like to leave. We’ll advise on the best, most tax-efficient, ways of sharing out your estate and of structuring any terms.
We’re here to make the process easy for you and help you to consider your specific circumstances as a whole by taking into account any property and assets you own personally, as well as any business interests you might have. And we’ll help you express your wishes in a way which leaves no doubt for the future. We can also help you provide for any disabled or vulnerable beneficiaries through the creation of Trusts which can protect assets from means-tested benefits or outside influences.
Once you have made a Will and it’s safely stored in the strong room of our office, don’t forget about it. Things change, relationships develop, people come into and go out of our lives. So it’s important to keep your Will under review. We recommend you should revisit it at least every four or five years – or when a significant change affects you - to check that it still reflects your wishes.
Whether you instruct us to prepare your Will for the first time, or to update an existing Will, we’ll make sure that it is well-thought through, clear and legally binding. And in the process, we’ll make the task of planning for the future as straightforward as it can be.
Whilst making a Will is a key part of planning for the future, have you stopped to think about what happens if we, a parent or other relative becomes physically or mentally incapacitated? What will happen if we or they need some form of assistance to achieve a better quality of life, potentially for the rest of their life? For some people, full-time, long-term care can be the only option. We’ll guide you on issues such as the financial consequences of long-term care, possible planning methods and the types of Trust available.
Tax planning is also an important consideration. As average net worth increases and modern families expand and interlink, Inheritance Tax and estate planning are a priority for many customers. We can work closely with your accountants and financial advisers to advise you on your situation. We can work to minimise the Inheritance Tax payable by your family, and protect your family’s wealth.
Business owners have specific issues when considering their Wills and estate planning. In partnership with Brethertons Commercial Team, we can ensure that you have appropriate documentation and plans in place to protect against the death of key individuals. It’s also important to make sure that your intended beneficiaries inherit under the terms of any partnership or shareholders agreement – these take precedence over your Will so we must ensure that any such agreements work in harmony with your Will.
We can also make sure that your company’s Memorandum & Articles of Association sufficiently represent your intentions for transfer of shares as reflected in your Will and that your business can continue to run after your death. We’ll help you to take advantage of all Inheritance Tax exemptions available to you.
Our Commercial Property team can offer you a solution for moving commercial property into a Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP). Our team will advise how you can use existing or new funds to buy a business or commercial property from which a trading company already operates, or may operate from in the future, with the rental income going into a SIPP.
Agricultural businesses also need specialist advice. We can help you to consider land ownership issues, fair division of the farm and farming business and provide advice on your Farming partnership agreement and advice on how it will interact with your Will.
Find out more information about making your Will.