Wills, trusts and probate

Wills, Trusts and Probate Law

Wills, trusts and probate is an important area of private legal matters because of the importance and complexity of such law.

At Foys Solicitors, our sound legal advice and support on Wills, trusts and probate law covers everything from writing Wills to making an LPA or even setting up a trust.

Wills, Trusts and Probate experts in South Yorkshire

With a dedicated team of experts, we can help you with private legal matters of any nature, from Will writing to assisting on probate matters.

Throughout our lives, we make many plans and decisions that manage risks and offer peace of mind – like we buy car insurance and pay into a pension. Among these decisions, one that allows us to spend our later years in life without having to worry about ‘what ifs’ is good estate planning.

Making a Will

Wanting the ultimate say in how your estate is managed following your death is of prime importance to many. After all, your money, property/properties, shares and personal possessions are a material representation of your life’s work. Since you can’t take them with you, it’s very likely you will want cherished loved ones to inherit your legacy – and this is achieved by creating a Will.

Fountain pen and stamp on a last will and testament The creation of a Will allows an Executor(s) (the person, or people, you have nominated in your Will to manage your estate) to resolve claims for your estate’s assets after your death by distributing them according to your wishes as expressed in the Will.

As such, a Will is one of the most important documents to get right. Within it, you choose the name of an Executor(s) – including a possible substitute Executor(s) – who will handle the estate. You will also name the people you have chosen to receive your assets, whether as a cash gift, personal effects, property or your residuary estate.

At Foys, we have seen first-hand some devastating consequences when a person dies without securing or completing a Will. Grieving relatives are left with an estate with no instructions that leaves everyone without influence over who receives what. This causes the Rules of Intestacy to apply, meaning that someone you do not want to have claim to your estate, can end up doing so. Conversely, a person who you wanted to have part (or all) of your estate may be left without receiving it.

Additionally, a Will can require changes over time. Children and/or grand children can be born, marriages can happen and divorces are always possible. As such, you should always be looking to update your Will with any major life event that occurs within your immediate family. Foys’ experienced Will writing team are happy to write a quality Will from scratch or help you make the tailored adjustments to a pre-existing Will to suit any new life circumstances. Simply get in touch with us today online or over the phone.

Setting up a Trust

Many people can misunderstand Trusts as being a matter for those who are considered rich. A person’s estate can be made of up of many properties, land and items and so on without that person necessarily considering themselves rich. Additionally, cases involves vulnerable adults or children who may not be able to manage their own affairs can also benefit from a Trust. In either case, these are situations where an estate could benefit from a structure that goes beyond a Will.

Don’t worry if you’re not sure if a trust is suited to your circumstances – that’s why we’re here to help you. Give our team a call today on 01302 327136 and we’ll discuss the best option for managing your estate’s legacy.

Probate

This is a legal term that refers to the general action of verifying and administering a Will according to the wishes of the the recently deceased. As this process generally begins very soon after the death of a loved one, we know how challenging a time it is for families to deal with any administration on top of the bereavement process.

At Foys, our probate specialists provide a service that is both sensitive and efficient so that you don’t have to worry about the process causing you any additional stress. We will manage the process and make sure that access to the estate’s assets are delivered to the correct recipient(s). On top of this, we’ll also inform you of what you should expect on assets that require payment of Inheritance Tax.

Experienced, approachable, dedicated and compassionate, you can rest assured that our team have the expertise to make the whole process be of the least inconvenience to loved ones experiencing grief.

Letters of Administration

A person who dies without a Will is deemed to have died ‘Intestate’. This means that someone, generally a family member or friend, has to apply for ‘Letters of Administration’ as opposed to going through the Probate law process. Administrator(s) (who, again, are generally family members or friends) are selected to legally distribute the estate of the deceased under the Rules of Intestacy.

Unsurprisingly, this can be a tense situation – especially if there is animosity between any of the parties that could lead to accusations or disagreements that last far beyond the process of distributing the assets. Our experienced specialists will take a clear yet sensitive approach to the process so that such troubles can be expertly navigated and even defused.

Lasting Power of Attorney

This is a legal document allowing a party to choose a trusted person, or people, to make any decisions regarding their health, welfare or estate.

Such a document is sought when it has been determined that a person may not have the ‘mental capacity’ to make decisions some or all of the time. This is often as a result of dementia or brain injury. The creation of a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) means that if you are ever in a position of reduced mental capacity, you will have already appointed someone you can trust to look after your affairs.

This process cannot be started after a person has already been deemed to have a diminished state of mental capacity. In such an event, a family member will have to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order. As this can be an expensive process that takes time to complete, it is always advisable to get a Lasting Power of Attorney sorted well in advance of any potential problems.

The team at Foys are here to talk through any concerns that you have about the process and advise you on how to proceed in securing a LPA document or how to apply for a Deputyship Order.

Coronavirus Update

The ongoing coronavirus situation has made it more difficult to provide Will writing services during the pandemic. Many of the traditional laws, dating back nearly 200 years, require a number of people to be present within a single room to witness signatures. This poses a problem during the current set of circumstances.

However, due to restrictions on the movements and number of people allowed in a certain room, as well as worries for those who continue to shield, the law was changed to accommodate for video witnessing and electronic signatures during the execution of a Will.

This is not a replacement for having the witness present, which is still the main method of witnessing a Will being executed, but merely an adjustment to account for the current health & safety situation and technological trends.

The solicitors on the Wills, Trusts and Probate team here at Foys are now well accustomed to these changes and will be happy to discuss how to set up the technology and software required to allow a person to witness a signature without being present in the room.

Competitive fixed fees

There are no shortage of talented solicitors out there but we think our experience, as well as our competitive fixed fees and packages, are sure to make you get in touch with Foys today. Additionally, we offer all clients a FREE initial consultation with a member of our team to establish which of our services would be of benefit to you. There is no obligation for you to continue with us beyond this point

If you have a legal problem relating to a matter in Wills, Trusts and Probate Law, there really is no reason to delay – get in touch today.

The areas our Wills, Trusts and Probate team can assist you with include:

  • Will preparation
  • Advising and preparing Trust Deeds
  • Obtaining Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration
  • Distributing an estate’s assets
  • Offering advice on Deed of Variations and Deed of Renunciations
  • Arranging Lasting Powers of Attorney
  • Registering Enduring Powers of Attorney
  • Deputyship Applications

Common questions about wills, trusts and probate

  • How do I change a pre-existing Will?

    There may be personal reasons as to why you change your Will or it could be more of a formality. You do need to change a Will if you have since been married or have entered into a civil partnership as this act cancels the previous Will. However, you don’t have to edit the Will if you have divorced with your partner or ended the civil partnership. Any gift to your ex-spouse/partner is deleted unless you want to specify otherwise.

    You may want to make additions or detractions to your pre-existing Will for personal reasons and this is something we can help you do at Foys. Lastly, you do not need to change your Will if a person moves address or even changes their name. You just need to update these details with the Will Writing service provider so that it makes it easier for them to be tracked down during the process of executing the Will.

  • Who can witness a Will?

    Anyone can generally be an official witness to a Will being signed with a couple of exceptions. Those who are not deemed to have mental capacity would not be allowed to witness a Will. Additionally, some portions of the Will may disqualify anyone who would directly benefit from the Will from being a witness.

  • Will my partner inherit my estate?

    As ‘partner’ can refer to many different types of relationships, it’s important to specify the differences. A non-married partner, or someone you are not in a civil partnership with, will not automatically inherit your estate. A married or civil partner will likely inherit your estate. In the case of joint ownership between two non-partners, it is likely the property will be passed onto the surviving joint owner.

  • What if the Will is disputed?

    The Will writing process can be disputed if a person is unhappy about the share they have received. They can do this under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975. When a Will is disputed, you need to have the best advice available to help you navigate this situation. This is exactly what you’ll get from the team at Foys.

  • SectionWhat if a beneficiary isn't traceable?

    There is no time limit on how long it takes for a beneficiary to claim an asset. In most cases, newspaper and online notices are placed to gather data about the missing beneficiary (if they haven’t already made contact themselves). Other specialist methods include using a genealogist or tracing agent.

    If there is still no contact, the Executor can either apply to the court for the assets to be distributed to the estate, insure against the beneficiary appearing at a later time with a claim, or pay their share into the court.

  • Does a Lasting Power of Attorney mean loss of all power?

    After your Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) has been appointed, you are free to administer and control your finances until such a time when you are not able to do so. Matters of health welfare and estate dealings should be discussed with your attorney and with our team.

    Should you wish to cancel the LPA, you can do so if you are deemed to have the mental capacity to make such a decision. This can happen without your say so if the attorney retires from the position, becomes bankrupt, if you get divorced (provided your spouse/civil partner is your attorney) and if they are incapacitated or die.

    If you have concerns over losing control, it’s important to consider who you would trust best in this position. There’s always the possibility a close family member could use your money for other purposes. Choose the most trustworthy person for the job – even if that isn’t your spouse and/or children.

  • When is the best time to make an LPA?

    Ideally as soon as you realise that you are unwell or are losing mobility. Signs can include feeling anxious paying bills or when sorting out paperwork, if you are forgetful, or if you are lacking in confidence to sort out your affairs. You could also do this as a precautionary measure at any point in your life in the event that an accident, injury, or illness occurs that could bring about a a loss of mental capacity.

  • How easy is it to transfer my home to my children?

    It is an easy enough process with the right help. It may even allow you to avoid selling your home to pay care home upkeep. However, there are possible implications for doing so. Things such as divorce, Wills, loans, bankruptcy, insolvency and more can affect everything so it’s important to speak to the specialists at Foys about this process.

If you are not able to make it to our office in person, we are more than happy to meet you at another location for your convenience – such as your home or elsewhere.

To find out more about how we can help you with your Wills, Trusts and Probate needs, just get in touch with your local Foys Solicitors office today or use the contact form to the side.

This page was updated on 9/09/21.

Please note that although we may use the word solicitor, your case could be carried out by a legal advisor, legal executive or paralegal depending on the nature of the case.

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