Wills and Probate Services
We act for a broad range of clients, including land owners, business entrepreneurs and private individuals. We treat each client as an individual, ensuring that you work with someone with the appropriate level of experience.
The team’s services include:
- Drafting family Wills and Codicils, incorporating Trusts, if appropriate, for family or tax reasons
- Probate matters, the administration of estates and the resolution of disputes
- Obtaining Grants of Representation
- Preparing Deeds of Variation
- Advising in relation to contested estates
- Lasting Powers of Attorney
- Court of Protection/Public Guardianship Office
- Applying to put in place a Statutory Will
- Managing all financial affairs and setting personal care arrangements as needed
We are happy to visit clients at home or attend nursing homes and hospitals to take instructions for wills, powers of attorney and to provide general advice in what are sometimes sensitive and difficult circumstances.
Well thought out and well drafted Wills can help you to look after the people you care about the most after you are gone, ensuring that your Estate can be administered with the minimum amount of disruption and to the maximum benefit of those you leave behind. Tax liabilities can be managed, disagreements minimised, minor children cared for and your assets left in accordance with your wishes.
To die without a valid Will (intestate), or with a Will that is poorly drafted or out of date, will not only complicate matters for those left to sort out your Estate but can lead to serious repercussions for those who rely on you the most:
- Your Estate may not go to the people you intended
- Your surviving spouse or partner may be unable to access the money they require
- Your beneficiaries may be faced with a large inheritance tax bill to pay
- The value of your estate may be severely reduced by the increased time taken for its administration and the increased possibility of disagreements between beneficiaries
Our wills service
We have extensive experience in helping our clients to draft the best Wills for their individual circumstances ensuring that their wishes are upheld, their liabilities are minimised and their loved ones are provided for.
We can help to:
- Draft Wills and Codicils – incorporating Trusts, if appropriate, for family or tax reasons
- Minimise exposure to inheritance and other taxes
- Deal with guardianship and other issues affecting minor children
- Minimise the risk of disagreements between beneficiaries and claims against the Estate
- Protect family members and their assets from third party claims, for example on divorce
Estate Administration and Probate Service
Our Private Client team is very experienced in looking after the administration of our clients’ estates, ensuring that their wealth is protected and distributed on their death in accordance with their wishes. Our partner led team is respected for its understanding and sensitive approach to dealing with matters of bereavement.
Our lawyers are particularly experienced in administering large or complex Estates, dealing with all probate and inheritance matters and resolving any disputes that arise when an Estate is contested.
We specialise in:
- All aspects of the administration of Estates from locating the Will (if one exists) to the completion of Estate Accounts and the distribution of funds
- Obtaining Grants of Representation
- Advising on all tax matters including Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax and income Tax
- Preparing deeds of variation where necessary
- Advising on contested estates
Contested Wills and Estates
The issues with contested wills & estates can be wide ranging, from questioning the validity of a Will; claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act; claims based on lifetime promises; actions to remove a personal representative; or claims for damages for breach of trust or for negligence by a trustee.
Whether you are claiming against an estate or acting as one of its executors, our experienced team can advise you on the remedies that are available and the action that should be taken.
We are able to advise across a wide variety of disputes including probate disputes; contested wills; Inheritance Act claims; Claims against Trustees and Executors and Negligence claims against professional trustees.
The way in which a settlement is structured after contested wills & estates can have important tax implications and in some cases significant tax savings can be made. We will advise you on the best way to structure any agreement to maximise the benefit to you.
Tax and Trusts
Our Tax and Trusts team is very experienced with particular expertise in advising high net worth individuals on all aspects of their wealth and estate planning.
UK Trust law is not always straightforward. Trusts are essentially separate legal entities that hold assets for your beneficiaries. As part of a review of your personal financial affairs and long term estate planning it may be appropriate to set up trusts. This can maximise the tax efficient transfer of assets to your family, control your tax liabilities, enable you to make charitable provisions or simply give you peace of mind that your affairs are in order.
Common reasons to set up trusts include:
- to reduce the amount of inheritance tax due on your estate
- to hold investments, life policies, pension benefits, or private company shares
- to hold funds for the future use of your children and grandchildren
- to support charitable causes (charitable trust)
- to ensure that your partner is taken care of, but that your estate eventually passes to your own family where you have remarried
- to avoid split ownership of a business where there are succession issues
- to provide for someone who is unable to handle their own affairs
Our Tax & Trusts service includes:
- Setting up, administration and amendment of Trusts
- Advice on all aspects of UK Trust law
- Advice on related tax issues including Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Income Tax
- Winding up of Trusts
Services for Later Life
Today, people are living longer, of better health and have more money at their disposal to enjoy a long and active retirement than ever before.
At Belcher Frost we work with many private clients who remain with the firm for the whole of their lives, returning to us whenever they need our advice.
We provide legal services to our clients offering them peace of mind, knowing that qualified and empathetic advisors are looking after their affairs. We pride ourselves on the feedback and the personal service we offer.
Making a Will
If you have not already made a will you may consider doing so. On your death, your estate will then be passed on according to your wishes, avoiding complications and unnecessary costs for those you leave behind.
Inheritance Tax Planning
If your estate is likely to exceed the inheritance tax threshold, as well as having a properly drafted will, it is prudent to look at ways to reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax that will be paid on your death. We can assist with this, advising how to plan your estate in the most tax efficient way.
We can explain what the tax bill is likely to and what can be done to reduce the potential tax bill. Where appropriate we can recommend independent financial advisors to assist you in the more detailed planning of your financial affairs.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney allows an appointed person to assume your role and look after your well-being and day to day affairs should you become incapable of doing so yourself. We are able to advise on how these powers will work.
Long Term Care Planning
Our team is qualified to provide advice on all aspects of long term care. We particularly encourage working with all members of a client’s family and advisors.