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Wills, Probate & Personal Finances

Wills, Probate & Personal Finances

Our Private Client team at Coles can work with you to plan and protect your family and financial affairs so that if the worst should happen you can have peace of mind that your estate is in order.

Whether its Inheritance tax planning, Will writing, Lasting Powers of Attorney,  Trust advice or assisting with a bereavement we have the expertise to help. Our animated video above details all of our services.

Wills – Why make one?

Without a Will you have no control over who will receive any property, money and personal items after your death.

Many people do not realise that a surviving spouse does not automatically receive all of a deceased husband or wife’s estate and unmarried partners or same sex couples receive nothing. Therefore, the death of a partner or spouse may lead to significant financial hardship and the people you may want to benefit from your property and affairs may not get anything.

People who die without a Will are leaving unnecessary work, complications and costs to their family and friends and often unintentionally gift thousands of pounds to HMRC in inheritance tax.

Wills are not just for the elderly and every adult should have a Will, especially if any of the following apply:

•    You have Children.
•    You are married or separating after a marriage
•    You co-habit, have a long term partner or are in a same sex couple
•    You have assets over £325,000, Business Interests or Agricultural Interests
•    You wish to specifically benefit / exclude a family member
•    You have retired

What can I include in a Will?

A Will encompasses more than simply the division of your finance and property. You can also state your wishes for other personal matters such as:

•    Appoint Guardians for Children – All to often no provision is made for parental control of minor children, which can lead to disputes through the courts. In a Will, should the worst occur, you can specify who you would like to raise your children and make financial provision to assist with living costs.

•    Protect Property from Care Home Fees – As an ageing population, more of us are requiring residential care as we get older. At an average of £600 per week, people are seeing savings and property intended to pass down to loved ones being decimated by the cost of care. Steps can be taken under your Will to safeguard your property.

•    Specify Funeral arrangements – Often people like to specify funeral requests under a Will to relieve family members from having to make tough, emotional choices once they have passed away.

Should I review my Will?

You may need to review your Will if your personal circumstances change, for example:

•    Moving property
•    Separation or Divorce
•    Retirement
•    Children are now adults
•    Births, deaths or marriages
•    Change in financial circumstances

Did you know that entering a marriage or civil partnership automatically revokes an existing Will?

As a rule of thumb you should consider whether your Will matches your requirements every 5 – 10 years.

Why use a Solicitor?

People’s financial and family circumstances are becoming more complex and we are seeing increasing numbers of second or third marriages, adopted children and family disputes. It is vitally important to consider who might have a claim on your estate and to whom you might owe a responsibility.

It is also important that a professional Solicitor draws up your Will based on your tailored circumstances. There is no such thing as a generic Will and a Will Writer who is offering something which seems too be good to be true, generally is.

The administration of your estate should not become a problem for your bereaved family. There are many factors to be taken into consideration when planning your Will and it is important that you take qualified legal advice and invest appropriate time. Don’t leave your family to argue over your estate, face long expensive Court hearings and become divided.

Our specialist Wills team includes members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) Solicitors for the Elderly and the Law Society’s Private Client Section and have considerable experience in drawing up Wills and estate planning.

Case Study

Mrs A had recently married for the second time (marriage always revokes a previous will) and she had adult children from her first marriage.

She also owned her own house and this was her main asset. Mrs A wanted to make sure that, on her death; her new husband would be able to stay in the house if he wished to do so but that, on his death, the house would pass to her children.

We were able to explain to Mrs A the various options available to her to protect both her new husband and her adult children. We were then able to prepare a Will for Mrs A which provided for Mr A to remain in the property but added various safeguards to protect her asset. The Will outlined that Mr A had to keep the property in good repair and manage the property’s outgoings so that it would still be a valuable asset when it eventually passed to her children.

We were also able to safeguard the property if Mr A were to remarry or cohabit after Mrs A’s death.

In this way Mrs A was able to have peace of mind that she had made suitable provision for all her family in the event of her death.