Our friendly team will advise you about all you will ever need to know about Wills, trusts and tax

Our experienced team of specialists have a wealth of expertise in the creation and administration of Wills in England and Wales. We will be able to guide you through the process of making a Will so that you understand the practical and financial implications of putting your wishes into effect, in a cost-efficient way.

For almost 300 years we have been helping our clients put their family affairs in order and ensure that their assets are protected in the UK or abroad. Our friendly and approachable team offer a straightforward and sensible approach to tax issues and help to plan for the future.

We will work with you to find the best way to minimise inheritance tax, by explaining how to use the exemptions and reliefs available, and also giving consideration to gifts and trusts.

Making a Will

Making a Will gives you the knowledge and control over what will happen to your affairs when you die. It gives your loved one’s peace of mind that they are following your wishes, and it is clear who can deal with legal matters for you.

In order to make a valid Will you must be at least 18 years old, make it voluntarily and be of sound mind. When signing the Will, it must also comply with the standard formalities in executing a Will otherwise the Will could be deemed invalid. People tend to write their Wills when they hit key milestones in life, such as buying their first home, getting married or entering a civil partnership, or having children. However, ideally, you should write your Will at the earliest opportunity.

With our assistance in the preparation of your Will, advice can be given on:

  • Appointment of guardians for your minor children
  • Any funeral wishes that you may have
  • Appointment of executors and trustees
  • Minimising Inheritance tax that may be payable
  • Protecting your assets
  • Reducing disputes on death
  • Protecting vulnerable beneficiaries
  • Capturing inheritance tax, business property relief and agricultural property relief if appropriate

Your Will should be reviewed on a regular basis, and particularly if you have a change in your circumstances. This includes a marriage or if you divorce, or if you now have grandchildren and you want them to benefit.

Protecting assets is often a consideration for a lot of clients particularly when considering future care needs. Married couples can benefit from setting up 'life interest trusts' in their Wills. On the death of the first spouse, this trust would come into effect which would protect one half of the home against financial assessment by the local authority

Trusts

With ageing parents and grandparents, families are becoming increasingly aware of their changing circumstances and the need to protect and safeguard family assets as well as protecting those beneficiaries who are deemed vulnerable. Trusts can be a useful mechanism for this and can also be used to help save tax as well. They can be set up during your lifetime or in your Will.

Our experts can advise you on whether they are suitable for your particular circumstances. Once set up, there are a large number of legal and moral responsibilities for the Trustees and our experts can provide the advice and guidance to comply with ongoing taxation and administration requirements. We can assist you with this, compiling trust tax returns on your behalf and trust accounts, and we can act as professional trustees if appropriate.

FAQs

FAQs Benefits of using an LPA to appoint an attorney

  1. Choice: the majority of people appoint other family members as their attorneys - people who know you well and are more likely to respect your preferences and best interests.
  2. Flexibility: unlike a deputyship, an LPA can assign a role to your attorney even without a loss of mental capacity. For example, they could be authorized to deal with your bank if you became physically unable to get to the branch for a while.
  3. Control: an LPA can be planned in advance at your own pace, avoiding the last-minute urgency of the Court.
  4. Cost: the appointment of deputies is likely to be significantly more expensive than drawing up an LPA. In some cases, two applications to the Court may be required, doubling the cost.
  5. Speed: an LPA can be completed and registered in advance and is ready to use immediately in an unexpected situation, for example if you have a stroke. It can also be registered in advance with organizations such as banks. With a deputyship application, it is not uncommon for it to take 6 months or more to give the deputy authority to act.
  6. Scope: A “health and welfare” deputy appointed by the Court of Protection cannot give or refuse consent to life-sustaining treatment for you, unlike an attorney appointed by LPA. If you were seriously ill, your wishes regarding life-sustaining treatment might not be respected.

FAQs Wills, LPAs and Tax

Q1. Do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney?

This can be answered in the same way as we treat travel insurance. Hopefully you will not need a Lasting Power of Attorney but if you do, your attorneys will be relieved to see that you have it in place as it will save both time and money. A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) appoints people (known as Attorneys) to look after your affairs if for any reason you are unable to do so. There are two types of LPA. One allows your Attorneys to deal with your property and financial affairs and the other enables your Attorneys to make decision about your health and welfare. Please note that some nursing homes insist on future residents having LPAs so that they know someone can act if the resident has lost or loses the capacity to act for themselves. Please arrange an appointment to discuss this further with us.

Q2. Can I alter my Enduring Power of Attorney?

No. An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) is still valid but it cannot be altered. If you wish to change your attorney/s you need to make a lasting Power of Attorney. Please note that EPAs only cover your property and financial affairs. Therefore, it is worth considering making a Lasting Power to cover your welfare needs. Please arrange an appointment to discuss this further with us.

Q3. Can my Attorneys continue to pay invoices from my estate when I die?

The people you appoint to be your Attorneys under a Lasting Power of Attorney or Enduring Power of Attorney will cease to be your Attorney immediately upon death. The administration of your estate will be dealt with by the Executors that you appoint in your Will. If you are not sure of what you can and can’t do as an attorney, please arrange an appointment to discuss this further with us.

Q4. Is my Will valid even if I have separated from my spouse or civil partner?

Yes. A separation does not make your Will invalid. You should alter it as soon as possible (if you do not wish your spouse or partner to benefit). When you get divorced or your civil partnership has been dissolved, your Will will still be valid but read as if your ex-spouse or civil partner had pre-deceased you. Please arrange an appointment to discuss this further with us.

Q5 .Do I need to change my Will if I get married?

Your Will will be revoked upon marriage unless it has been made in anticipation of that marriage. Please arrange an appointment with us to discuss what your Will says or needs to say.

Q6. Can the beneficiaries in my Will also be my Executors?

Yes. However, your beneficiaries should not witness your Will. If you are not sure who can act as your witnesses, please arrange an appointment for us to advise you.

Q7. When do I have to pay inheritance tax?

The Nil Rate Band (NRB) is the basic allowance available to an individual before any inheritance tax becomes payable. The NRB is currently £325,000. The value is made up of gifts over and above the allowed allowances for the previous seven years before death and also the value of your estate when you pass away.

Q8. What is the Residence Nil Rate Band?

The Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB) is an allowance available in addition to the Nil Rate Band and came into effect from April 2017. To apply the RNRB, your property must pass to your lineal descendants (children, grandchildren etc..). The allowance started at £100,000 for 2016 / 2017 and will increase by £25,000 each tax year until 2020 when it will be a maximum of £175,000. Together with the Nil Rate Band (currently £325,000), this will give an individual an allowance free from inheritance tax of up to £500,000, by 2020/2021.

Q9. How much is inheritance tax?

Inheritance Tax is charged at 40% for anything over the inheritance tax allowance.

Q10. Will you store my Will?

Yes. We will store your Wills free of charge. We also store deeds free of charge for existing clients.

Q11. Do common law wives and husbands really exist in law?

In short, no. The law does not automatically recognise couples who have lived together as if married or civil partners. This means that if you do not have a Will the intestacy rules do not distribute any part of your estate to your partner. There is an opportunity to make a claim under the Independent (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 if you have lived together for more than two years.

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“A simple will required. Naomi Bailey was so helpful, friendly and informative. Very professional.”

S McStraw

“Naomi Dyer was brilliant and other staff were also lovely, efficient, knowledgeable and helpful.”

R. McDermid

“Naomi Dyer was very friendly, approachable, highly efficient and dynamic. I thought her advice was impeccable.”

MG W Rance

“Naomi and her team were excellent. Thank you very much. It was very reassuring to have the same person deal with Marjory’s estate as her husband, Peter.”

E Milner

“Naomi Bailey, once again, has been thoroughly professional, very helpful and very pleasant to work with during the updating of my Will.”

C Chandler

“Naomi Bailey helped me in an extremely caring manner at a very difficult and emotional time in my life. She explained everything in a very professional way. She is a true asset to your team. Thank You.”

Sandra Baldock

“Lucy Horsington could not have been more professional, patient and kind.”

Paul

“Sally always responded immediately to any questions I had and went the extra mile to expedite our probate application.”

S Long

“Delighted with the whole experience of working with Sally and Ben. Couldn’t fault any part of the process of updating my will, etc. Many thanks.”

Jo Tait

“Sally Manning and her Castle Cary team were professional knowledgeable and provided an excellent service. I was kept fully up to date with developments and all matters explained clearly and concisely. A very good experience”

Peter Everitt

“Thank you Sally for your excellent service in the probate of our mother’s will. But also, I really appreciate your kindness and care, forbearance at times no doubt, in acting as x solicitor. She had complete confidence in you, which I shared.”

C Crockatt

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J Dean

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J. Hunt

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Hazel Redgwick

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