• Doncaster

    01302 327 136
    Mon-Fri 9-5pm

  • Retford

    01777 703 100
    Mon-Fri 9-5pm

  • Worksop

    01909 500 511
    Mon-Fri 9-5pm

  • Clowne

    01246 810 050
    Mon-Fri 9-5pm

  • Rotherham

    01709 375 561
    Mon-Fri 9-5pm


  • Sheffield - Waterthorpe

    0114 251 1702
    Mon-Fri 9-5pm

  • Sheffield - Chapeltown

    0114 246 7609
    Mon-Fri 9-5pm

'Will, Trusts & Probate' Category Archives

September 11th, 2019

Wills, Trusts and Probate Law

At Foys, our dedicated team of expert Will and Probate solicitors can support you in all the complex legal details surrounding Wills, trusts and probate law.

The importance of writing a Will is often overlooked. We cannot predict tomorrow and the consequence of not having a Will can be devastating for your family when the time comes. We recognise that it can be a difficult matter to approach therefore our expert Will and Probate solicitors are here to help you understand the legal ins and outs of the procedure. We will support you throughout the process and ensure your needs are met.

Our Wills, trusts and probate team can assist you with the following:
• Making a Will
• Setting up a Trust
• Probate
• Letters of Administration
• Lasting Powers of Attorney

For more information regarding how we can help you, check out our recently updated ‘Wills, Trusts and Probate Law‘ page. Here we explain in depth the mentioned areas of law that we cover.

Contact Foys Solicitors for advice on Wills, trusts and probate law today

To book an initial free consultation or to find out more about our Wills, trusts and probate services, call on 01302 327136 to book your FREE initial consultation. Alternatively, you can send us a message via our Contact Form.

June 5th, 2019

The danger of DIY Wills

Research conducted by Royal London in 2018, the largest mutual insurer in the UK, revealed that more than half (54%) of the adult population do not have a Will.

The danger of not having a Will in place or even attempting to write your own Will can have devastating consequences for your loved ones left behind.

Employing a solicitor to assist with the Will writing process is an option that most people take, ensuring that their last wishes are carried out. However, with the accessibility of DIY Will toolkits and templates, it is useful to know the risks before opting to do it yourself.

Potential pitfalls of a DIY Will

It is said that the number of inheritance disputes has risen drastically in 2019 – and DIY Wills are mainly to blame. Without the guidance of an experienced solicitor, a DIY Will is likely to feature mistakes or omissions, leaving your family to argue over your possessions and property.

To write a Will, you must be over 18 and have the mental capacity to understand the outcome of the document you are signing. If you made a Will without having the mental capacity, your family could challenge the validity of your Will down the line.

It is unlikely that a DIY Will can accommodate the changing of your circumstances. If you have a Will in place but are going through a divorce and plan to remarry, any Will that you have previously implemented will no longer be recognised.

What is a Will, and why should a solicitor help me write one?

A Will is an important legal document, encompassing how you want your estate (property, possessions and finances) to be distributed among your family members after you have died. This legal document includes the name of your executor(s) who will manage the distribution of everything that you have left behind.

Without a Will, the laws of intestacy apply, meaning that your estate will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy. This situation could result in stress and pain for your family, and your assets will not go to the people you had in mind.

By employing a dedicated and experienced solicitor to assist you with writing your Will, you can ensure that this will not happen. At Foys, our solicitors have decades of experience with Will writing, and you can rest assured that your wishes after death will be respected.

What does writing a Will entail?

The legal and correct process of writing a Will does not need to be complex or lengthy. With Foys, we will guide you every step of the way, and help you with understanding the value of your assets before determining how they should be divided.

A valid Will needs to:

  • Be in writing, signed by you and witnessed by two people.
  • Have been written by you while you had the mental capacity to make and understand the effect of it.
  • Be made by you voluntarily, and without any pressure or coercion from another person.
  • Be completely free of errors and transparent as to what your requests are.

Common mistakes on a DIY Will

Understanding the legal ins and outs of a Will can pose as a problem to many people who have not sought professional advice. It is critical that the language used within your Will is concise and clear. Even the smallest error in your Will could result in the courts having to interpret it or the document being deemed invalid.

The top five common mistakes include:

  • Incorrectly signed and witnessed: your Will needs to be witnessed by two people who are present at the time of your signing for it to be legally binding. These witnesses must be UK citizens, 18 years or older and not be named as beneficiaries in your Will or married to someone who is.
  • Omitted assets: by forgetting to mention an asset in your Will, such as a property in another country, means that the court will have to deal it with.
  • Out of date: any deaths, births or marriages in your family should prompt you to update and edit your Will.
  • Not making proper exclusions: you need to provide a letter alongside your Will explaining why you have excluded anyone that has a legal claim to your estate.
  • Inappropriate executors: an executor will be considered inappropriate if they are under 18, do not feel capable of accepting the responsibility or live overseas.

Foys Solicitors can be trusted with writing your Will

With the assistance of Foys team of dedicated Wills and Probate solicitors, the experience of writing your Will is made significantly more straightforward and affordable. We offer competitive fixed standard fees for our services, safeguarding your wishes and putting you and your family at ease.

We do not want legal fees to deter you from protecting your interests in the future, so we offer a FREE initial consultation. This allows us to determine the best course of action and understand how we can help you.

To get in touch simply fill out our Online Form or call your local Foys Solicitors office:

If you found this interesting, check out:

This post is not legal advice and should not replace professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances. It is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

November 26th, 2018

St Luke’s Will Month

Writing a will is something that many people do not think about until it is too late. In most cases, there is not enough incentive to write one, and the option of doing it later proves too tempting. However, in April 2018 there was another incentive to sit down and write one.

St Luke’s Hospice in Sheffield is a charity providing care for those with incurable illnesses, helping to ease them through the last few months or even days of their lives. Their services operate free of charge, with over 70% of their funding coming from donations, and in April they run the St Luke’s Will Month. The premise is simple: participating law firms like Foys offer their will-writing services for free, and in return, all they ask is for a donation to St Luke’s.

This year our Sheffield offices took part, located in Waterthorpe and Chapeltown, and their combined efforts raised an astounding £3,290. Every penny of that goes to support the local community, helping to make the lives of those with terminal illnesses just that little bit easier.

The event may be over, but the importance of writing a will has never been higher. If you’re considering drafting one, then get in touch with your local Foys Solicitors office:

  • Doncaster – 01302 327 136
  • Retford – 01777 703 100
  • Worksop – 01909 500 511
  • Clowne – 01246 810 050
  • Rotherham – 01709 375 561
  • Sheffield (Waterthorpe) – 0114 251 1702
  • Sheffield (Chapeltown) – 0114 246 7609

A thank you post from St Luke's Hospice

November 26th, 2018

A beautiful gift from a happy client

Today, Melanie Penney received a beautiful bunch of flowers from a client as a way of saying thanks for all of her hard work. The flowers were wrapped with a lovely sentiment saying “Thank you so much Mel for your help and support. You’re one in a million”.

Mel is one of our Wills and Probate specialists in the Worksop office and she really is one in a million. At Foys, we’re all so proud of Mel and how hard she works to help clients. Keep up the great work Melanie!

Flowers for Mel

September 26th, 2018

How to make decisions for someone with advanced dementia

wife supports husband with dementiaWhen your loved one was first diagnosed with dementia, they may not have anticipated their condition deteriorating so quickly. Perhaps they never expected to make complex legal or financial decisions in the future. Unfortunately, there may come a time when they have to make a serious decision but don’t have the mental capacity to do so anymore.

When it’s suspected that someone is no longer able to make decisions for themselves, the first step is to assess their mental capacity. Following this, further steps can be taken if it’s established that they don’t have mental capacity; you may need to appoint a deputy or write a Statutory Will. Here are some of the issues that have to be considered when a person with dementia is not capable of making decisions for themselves.

Assessing mental capacity

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) protects people who can’t make decisions for themselves. Section 1 of the Act outlines what it means to not have mental capacity:

  • A person must be assumed to have capacity unless it is established that they lack capacity.
  • A person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision unless all practicable steps to help them to do so have been taken without success.
  • A person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision simply because they make an unwise decision.
  • An act done or decision made, under this act for or on behalf of a person who lacks capacity, must be done or made in their best interests.
  • Before the act is done or the decision made, regard must be had to whether this can be achieved in a less restrictive way.

The MCA says a person cannot make a decision for themselves when they are unable to either understand the decision, retain information relevant to the decision, or use that information as part of the decision-making process.

When assessing the mental capacity of a person with dementia, it should not be assumed that their condition means they can’t make decisions for themselves. They should also not have to prove their mental capacity; the onus is always on other people to demonstrate conclusively that they don’t.

Court of Protection Deputyship

If a person with dementia has not arranged a Lasting Power of Attorney, they will not be able to do so if they’ve lost mental capacity. Instead a family member, carer, solicitor or other individual can make an application to the Court of Protection for the appointment of one or more deputies. In the case of none of the above being available or willing to become a deputy, the Court of Protection may appoint a panel deputy, selected from a list of approved charities and law firms. Deputies have a similar function to an attorney, except they are appointed by the Court rather than by the person who lacks capacity. There are two kinds of deputies:

  • Property and financial affairs
  • Personal welfare

The deputy is responsible for making decisions on behalf of the person who lacks mental capacity, and must submit a report every year detailing each decision they’ve made. There are limits on what a deputy can do; for example, they can’t stop the person they’re representing from receiving life-saving treatment, or write a Will for them.

The Office of the Public Guardian

If you are appointed to be a deputy or attorney of a person who lacks mental capacity, the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) will supervise your decisions and ensure you are carrying out tasks correctly. The OPG is responsible for protecting people in England and Wales who may not have the mental capacity to make certain decisions for themselves, and assisting them with making decisions about their future.

The main responsibilities of the OPG are:

  • Registering Lasting Powers of Attorney
  • Maintaining a register of deputies and people with Lasting Powers of Attorney
  • Supervising deputies to ensure they comply with the Mental Capacity Act 2005
  • Investigating concerns about attorneys or deputies

Making a Statutory Will

Statutory Wills are arranged when someone who has lost mental capacity doesn’t have a Will in place, or needs to change their Will. This is usually done when the person’s estate is likely to be distributed to someone they wouldn’t want it to go to, or their circumstances have changed. For example, if they already had a Will but the main beneficiary has passed away, it should be changed to reflect this.
Applying for a Statutory Will is understandably a complicated process. You must be able to prove the person in question is unable to understand any of the following:

  • What making or changing a will means
  • How much money they have or what property they own
  • How making or changing a will might affect the people they know (either those mentioned in the will or those left out)

You will also need to submit details of their assets, accounts, a family tree and any documents like deputyship orders or LPAs. Always consult a solicitor before you submit your application, as if you make any mistakes you must still pay the fees regardless. The application for a Statutory Will costs £385, plus £500 if the Court calls a hearing.

Contact Foys for dementia law advice

It’s common for people to put off legal matters like writing Wills or arranging Lasting Power of Attorney. Unfortunately, when this happens, and the person who needs to make decisions has lost the capacity to do so, it can cause a range of issues for themselves and their family. It can also leave them vulnerable to abuse or fraud by outsiders who wish to take advantage.

Foys Solicitors can help you with any legal arrangements you need to make if you suspect your loved one lacks mental capacity.

If you need legal advice regarding any aspects of dementia, use our Online Form to contact our Protection of the Elderly Team.
Alternatively, contact your local Foys Solicitors office:

  • Doncaster – 01302 327 136
  • Retford – 01777 703 100
  • Worksop – 01909 500 511
  • Clowne – 01246 810 050
  • Rotherham – 01709 375 561
  • Sheffield (Waterthorpe) – 0114 251 1702
  • Sheffield (Chapeltown) – 0114 246 7609

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September 19th, 2018

Making arrangements after a diagnosis of dementia

Man discusses medical issues with doctorWhen a diagnosis of dementia is confirmed, you will have to make many decisions about the future. By planning ahead, you can ensure that you’ll get the type of healthcare you want and that people who you love and trust have a say in your welfare. If you leave the paperwork until later you may be considered unfit, and decisions could be made on your behalf that you don’t agree with. This is why it’s important to contact an elderly care solicitor as soon as possible to help you make the correct arrangements.

Here we outline some healthcare and legal matters you should consider after being diagnosed with dementia.

Care needs assessment

Some people with dementia may be eligible for free or low-cost care provided by their local authority. To find out if you’re eligible, you must first have a care needs assessment. These can be arranged by contacting the social services department at your local council or having someone contact them on your behalf. They will send a list of questions in advance, and you will usually have a few days to consider what type of care you need around the house. You can be as detailed as you wish. During the assessment, a social worker or another council official will ask you how you are managing with everyday tasks and document what you struggle with.

If your assessment concludes that you need care, there will then be a financial assessment to see if the council should cover some or all of the costs. Together, these assessments will help you understand how much your care is likely to cost and how much assistance you can get. In turn, this may affect other decisions you make about your finances.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your care needs assessment, you have the right to complain to the council. For example, you may think they underestimated the amount of help you need or overvalued your assets. It’s advisable to get independent legal advice before challenging a decision so that the right steps can be taken.

Advance decisions (Living Will)

An advance decision is a document which specifies what kind of care or treatment you would like to receive (or reject) in the future. It should describe the circumstances under which certain treatments should be given or refused: for example, you might specify what should happen if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Although you can write your own advance decision, it’s best to consult a solicitor to ensure there are no errors. Your advance decision will only be legally binding if it meets the following criteria:

  • The document must be valid, which means the advance decision was written when you had mental capacity.
  • The requests must be applicable. The wording should be clear, and the correct medical terms should be used for conditions and treatments.
  • When writing the advance decision, you must be aware of the consequences of refusing treatment if that is your request.
  • If your advance decision relates to life-saving treatment, it must be signed and witnessed by someone who would not benefit from your death, such as your solicitor.

Will and Testament

It’s still possible to write your Will after being diagnosed with dementia, provided you are mentally capable. This can be proven by including documentation from a medical professional confirming your mental state, preventing it from being contested after you pass away. If you get a solicitor to write your Will, you also eliminate the possibility of making small errors which might otherwise invalidate the whole document.

Lasting Power of Attorney

As dementia progresses, it’s likely that you eventually won’t be able to make decisions for yourself. You can officially appoint one or more people to make decisions for you in the future; this is called making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), and it means the people responsible for your care and finances are people who you trust and have chosen for yourself. When you make your LPA you must be regarded as having mental capacity, so the decision should be made as soon as possible after a diagnosis of dementia has been confirmed.

You can appoint an attorney to handle your health and care decisions, your financial decisions, or both. As long as your attorney is over 18 they can be anyone you trust, such as your partner, your child, a friend or your solicitor. Most importantly you should choose someone who is responsible and will act in your best interests.

If you are concerned that your attorney may at some point also become unable to make their own decisions, you can specify who should take over from them.

Foys, the elderly care solicitors

At Foys Solicitors, we know that every person with dementia is different and that there is no one way of coping with dementia. Your individual care needs and your wishes should be documented so that you can focus on yourself and your loved ones rather than worry about what will happen in the future.

Our services are always tailored to the individual, and we will help you recognise what options are available to you – and we’ll do our best to make sure you understand the legal process by explaining everything without confusing jargon.

If you need legal advice regarding any aspects of dementia, use our Online Form to get in touch. Alternatively, contact your local Foys Solicitors office:

Doncaster – 01302 327 136
Retford – 01777 703 100
Worksop – 01909 500 511
Clowne – 01246 810 050
Rotherham – 01709 375 561
Sheffield (Waterthorpe) – 0114 251 1702
Sheffield (Chapeltown) – 0114 246 7609

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September 12th, 2018

The importance of writing a will

Last Will and Testament - letter with wax sealA will or testament is a legal document designating how and to whom your property will be distributed to upon your death. In your will, you can name one or more persons as an executor to manage the estate until it can be properly distributed to whomever the will designates. The terms will and testament are interchangeable, with both referring to all types of property (both real and personal). In some cases a will can create a trust with the condition of only being accessible upon the death of the testator (the creator of the will).

Creating a will

To create a will, you must be over the age of majority (18) and have testamentary capacity (be of a sound mind). As life can be a series of unpredictable events, creating a will early helps to reduce any risk of interference from unfortunate events. The first step of creating a will is to revoke all previous wills and confirm yourself as the maker of the will. Your will must be signed and dated, usually in the presence of at least two witnesses that are not beneficiaries, and the signature must be placed at the end (anything written after the signature will be ignored).

The importance of these steps cannot be understated, since a will can be ignored or invalidated if the appropriate procedures are not followed. As is the case with many legal documents it’s best to seek the help of a family law solicitor, particularly if your will has specific requests, which can be complicated and tricky to write.

At Foys, our family law solicitors offer a competitive fixed fee for standard wills and also special service for bespoke wills for residents across Doncaster, Retford, Worksop, Clowne, Rotherham, Waterthorpe and Chapeltown.

The law of intestacy

When someone dies without a will, the property of the deceased is distributed under the laws of intestacy. All personal belongings and property, along with the first £250,000 of the estate, are inherited by the closest living married or civil partner (including those that have split informally but not divorced). The remaining estate is then split, half going to the civil or married partner and half divided between any children. Intestacy laws concern only the property of the deceased, and do not cover any other issues arising from the death itself.

Probate

Probate is a process that begins with proving a will to be valid in a court of law. Once this is done probate is granted to the executor, who then has permission to begin distributing inherited property according to the wishes set out in the will. A Grant of Probate also turns the will into a legal instrument that can be used in court if necessary. It can be a complex process that falls largely upon the executor of the will.

Why write a will?

While intestacy laws do exist, often they can lead to undesirable outcomes. Any of your children born under marriage are entitled to an equal share of the remainder of the property, including those from previous partners you are no longer with. Furthermore the loss of a parent figure can throw many families into immense doubt as to the future of their children, something that intestacy does nothing to alleviate. In fact it can make things worse considering the children often receive a smaller share compared to the partners, and they are dependent on whoever has inherited the majority of the estate.

Wills depend upon the testator being of sound mind and under his or her own influence, something that becomes increasingly less certain with time. While many wish to put off writing a will until the last moment, doing so can increase the chances of you being unable to when the time comes.

Inheritance Tax

Inheritance tax is tax on the estate of the deceased. You don’t pay this if the value of your estate is below a £325,000 threshold, and any assets passed on to your spouse or civil partner are exempt from the tax. However, if you do not fulfil either of those criteria, the standard tax rate is 40% charged on everything above the threshold. This can add up to a substantial amount, and crucially if the estate is distributed through intestacy law then it is the children who have to pay the inheritance tax. A will can allow you to direct your estate and reduce the amount of inheritance tax paid. It’s a simple decision but with the tax rate so high it can save your children and relatives both a lot of money and a great deal of stress dealing with it.

Contact the family law solicitors at Foys to create your will

At Foys, our family law solicitors have years of solid experience helping residents across the UK with preparing wills, obtaining grant of probate, distributing a deceased’s estate and advising and preparing trust deeds.

Contact your local Foys Solicitors office:

Doncaster – 01302 327 136
Retford – 01777 703 100
Worksop – 01909 500 511
Clowne – 01246 810 050
Rotherham – 01709 375 561
Sheffield (Waterthorpe) – 0114 251 1702
Sheffield (Chapeltown) – 0114 246 7609

August 21st, 2018

Foys Solicitors are taking part in Will Month this September to support Sheffield Hospitals Charity

foys solicitors logo sheffield hospitals charity logo

Whether you want to leave your savings to an animal charity when you pass on, give family heirlooms to your children or your car to your nephew, a final Will and Testament will be necessary to ensure your wishes take effect. Many people in the UK neglect to make a Will because they either assume they don’t need one, or that it’s too expensive – unfortunately, this means dividing their estate will be much more complicated, and their final wishes may not be taken into account.

If you’ve put off drafting your Will, or you need to make changes to the one you currently have, the Sheffield offices of Foys Solicitors are offering a free Will writing service during the month of September. In return, we ask that you make a minimum suggested donation to Sheffield Hospitals Charity, who support Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust with additional patient and family support, research, staff development and more. The support of donors is vital to keep the charity running, so the suggested minimum donations are:

  • Standard Simple Will – £95
  • Simple Mirror Image Wills – £135
  • Preparing a Codicil to an existing Will – £75

Your donation will make a big difference to patients and their families. Sheffield Hospitals Charity spends over £2.5 million a year on improving care and treatment at NHS hospitals and relies on donations from the public.

Remember, you’re never too young to make a Will. If you’re living with your partner, if you have a house, if you have a business or if you have children – making your final wishes clear can ensure a better future for your loved ones.

Call Foys Solicitors today

Whether your current Will needs updating, or you have been thinking for a while about writing one, this September is your opportunity to get a Will and support a great Sheffield charity at the same time. At Foys Solicitors, our Wills and Probate specialists can help you draft a Will to suit your needs and give you peace of mind.

To participate in Will Month for Sheffield Hospital’s Charity, call Foys Solicitors:

Sheffield Chapeltown – 0114 246 7609
Sheffield Crystal Peaks – 0114 251 1702

and quote ‘Sheffield Hospitals Charity Will Month’.