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Estate planning is always important and more so than ever it’s vital that you write or review your Will properly. Any sense of urgency needs to be balanced with following the right procedures to ensure your Will is valid. We are working as normal, albeit remotely, and are meeting our clients through Skype, FaceTime, Zoom or over the telephone.

Below are some top tips on Wills, trusts and probate to help you navigate these turbulent times, to ensure that your and your family’s futures are protected. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if we can help.

Make a Will or review your existing Will

Everyone should have a Will, particularly if you have children, own a property or business or have savings and investments. It’s the best way to make sure your loved ones are looked after. Think about what will happen to your estate when you are no longer here, who you would like to deal with the administration and, if you have young children, who will be their guardians? If you already have a Will, make sure this is up to date, to reflect your current personal and financial circumstances.

When a family suffers a loss of a loved one, dealing with the estate can be a daunting task. The assets and liabilities have to be identified and valued. Inheritance tax forms must be lodged with HMRC and if necessary, inheritance tax paid. In many cases, a grant of probate is required before any inheritance can be paid to the beneficiaries.

Make a Lasting Power of Attorney

There are two types: Property and Financial Affairs and Health and Welfare. You can appoint Attorneys to step into your shoes to manage your affairs. Even if you have mental capacity the Property & Financial Affairs LPA can be useful if you need someone else to look after your finances or business interests.

Consider Inheritance Tax

The “residential” nil rate band allowance benefits spouses with a £1 million nil rate band. But the rules for this very helpful allowance are complex and do not apply in all cases. We can advise you on how current Inheritance rules apply to you.

Create a Trust

A trust is created when you give assets to people you choose (the trustees) to hold for the benefit of others (the beneficiaries). It can be set up during your lifetime (by using a trust deed) or upon death (by inclusion in your Will) and can be used as a practical tool for inheritance tax planning and asset protection.

Property co-ownership

Joint property owners often make a “Declaration of Trust” to clearly set out how the sale proceeds are split in the event of a sale. Such a document can be crucial where co-owners contribute unequal amounts to the purchase price.

If you would like more information on any of the topics mentioned above, please contact us.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.