Everyone should consider making a Will and, once a Will has been made, it is essential that you continue to review your Will on any change in personal circumstances: for example, the death of a loved one, birth of a child or breakdown of a relationship. The consequences for a deceased’s family if no Will is in place can be very distressing. This can be for a variety of reasons.
A Will appoints Executors to avoid the additional expense of the court having to appoint them when you are gone. It leaves clear direction on how property should be divided to avoid indecision or family arguments.
Cohabitants have the right to claim on their partner’s estate if no Will is in place. So if you are living with a partner but do not wish them to inherit your property it is essential that it is put beyond doubt within a Will. Equally, if you do want them to inherit it is important to make the proper provision in a Will.
Parents of young children should leave direction to friends and relatives concerning the care of any children under the age of 16 that survive them and this can be achieved through a Will. It is important also to protect youngsters from inheriting before they are mature enough to deal with substantial assets. Where children or other dependents are disabled in some way, these matters are brought into sharper focus.
The preparation of a Will when you have Second Family can often be a real headache. Often, the laws of succession do not correspond with the modern family set-up. There are various mechanisms that we can use to ensure that everyone gets their ‘fair share’.
If you own a business, it is important to consider what will happen to the business if you are no longer here to be a part of it so that the value of the business is retained.
Funeral wishes can also be confirmed in a Will. What can be an upsetting topic of conversation with a loved is sometimes more easily addressed by your Will.
Trusts can be used for tax planning, to protect young or vulnerable persons and to preserve assets. We try to look at the bigger picture and where appropriate create the right type of trust to give you peace of mind now and in the future.
The death of a loved one in any circumstances can be a difficult and stressful time. The legal procedures which are required after somebody dies can vary greatly depending on the individual’s circumstances including such things as whether or not he or she left a Will and the level of estate left. Before starting to deal with the winding up of an estate it is a good idea to take legal advice.
The prospect of winding up an estate without the benefit of legal advice can be a daunting one for an executor. In the absence of a Will it will usually be necessary to have an Executor appointed by the Sheriff Court. Whether appointed Executor in terms of a Will or by the Sheriff Court there are a number of duties incumbent on an Executor. These duties can include completing a full Inventory of the deceased’s estate, contacting beneficiaries as well as fundholders and creditors, dealing with H.M. Revenue and Customs in relation to any tax aspects of the estate, paying any Inheritance Tax due and applying for Confirmation to the estate the grant of which will allow the Executor to deal with the various assets and to pay any debts or liabilities. Before finally distributing the estate – either in terms of the Will or, if there is no Will, in terms of the rules laid down by law – the Executor must be sure that all debts and any claims against the estate have been paid. The Executor may find himself personally liable for any breach of his duties.
By letting us guide you through any practicalities and paperwork that may be necessary, you will have peace of mind that the estate is being properly dealt with on your behalf and leave you free to deal with other matters that may require your attention or simply give you the time you need to grieve. We will advise you on and guide you through the legal processes involved in a sympathetic manner, at a time and pace to suit you and taking into account the work required in winding up the estate.