19th June 2018
Handling the future of your Assets and Personal Affairs with care
There are few issues more sensitive than making a Will or sorting out matters when someone dies (estate administration). Whether you want to plan what will happen to your assets after you pass away, or need to deal with an estate after a loved one has died, it isn’t always easy to know where to start.
To navigate your way through the challenges involved in matters relating to Wills and administering the estate of someone close, you really need the advice and expertise of an experienced wills and probate solicitor.
Looking for legal advice to help with Wills and Estate Administration in the North East? Our solicitors are always happy to offer an initial consultation free of charge.
What is a Will and why do I need one?
A Will is a legal document that sets out what you wish to happen when you die. To make a valid Will the law requires certain formalities and also for it to state clearly how your money and any other assets should be left to those that are close to you or to charities etc.
While a Will is often something people don’t consider until they reach their seventies or eighties, it can be just as important for you to have a Will in your twenties, thirties and forties – particularly if you have children or if you live with a partner you are not married to.
Should the worst happen and you die unexpectedly, a Will can set out how you would wish for your children to be cared for this is called appointing a guardian.
Quite simply, if you die without a Will there is a significant chance that your wishes will not be carried out as you would want them and a costly legal dispute could arise after your death.
What is Lasting Power of Attorney and do I need one?
Put simply, Lasting Power of Attorney it is a legal document that allows you to appoint one or more people to act as your Attorney in relation to the management of your financial affairs and property if you cannot do this for yourself. This type of case typically arises when an individual loses mental capacity due to a stroke, a head injury or perhaps a long term condition such as dementia.
Without a Lasting Power of Attorney, it could become very difficult for those close to you to access and manage your bank accounts, savings, investments or property if you lose the mental capacity to manage your financial affairs yourself.
You can also make a Lasting Power of Attorney for health and care decisions. For example, you may want to leave specific instructions as to how you should be cared for. Again, Lasting Powers of Attorney should be made at a time when still have the mental capacity to make an informed decision – something that we can fully advise and assist you with at Sweeney Miller.
What happens if someone hasn’t made a Lasting Power of Attorney and they lose or lack mental capacity?
Under these circumstances, an application will have to be made to the Court of Protection to appoint a family member or close friend as a Deputy to manage the incapacitated individual’s financial affairs. However, it is always preferable to make a Lasting Power of Attorney as the process with the Court of Protection is costly, lengthy and to be avoided if at all possible.
We can provide advice and assistance with Court of Protection matters, including Deputyship applications and applications to the Court for Statutory Wills where someone lacks capacity to make a Will or amend an existing one.
What is Probate & Estate Administration?
Probate is the approval by the Court of the validity of the Will of the deceased. Letters of Administration are obtained when the deceased has not made a Will prior to death. We can assist and advise on obtaining the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration when a loved one dies.
We can also assist with the Administration of the Estate of the deceased including the sale of a house owned by the deceased and also deal with the payment of debts due from the estate, collecting in of assets and valuation of them, payment of Inheritance Tax and then the distribution of the Estate.
Why do you need a Wills and Probate solicitor?
The purpose of a Will is to act as a legally binding document on your death. A solicitor is an important figure in both the drafting of a Will and the distribution of assets upon the death of an individual to ensure that procedures are followed correctly and that the deceased’s wishes are carried out.
Why choose Sweeney Miller Law as your Wills and Probate solicitors?
Nobody likes to think about death. But preparing for the inevitable is something that we all need to do at some point. At Sweeney Miller Law we have a highly skilled team who understand the sensitivities of Wills and Probate.
If you have never considered how your assets should be divided up or who might look after your children if you die suddenly, it could be that you need a little help and guidance. Our Wills and Probate solicitors know the right questions to ask and have the expertise to make drafting a Will a straightforward process.
Similarly, we have been involved in the execution of hundreds of Wills over the years. We know what it takes to help individuals apply for Probate and for those who have been unfairly excluded to dispute a will. There are many different aspects to Wills and Probate. Our specialist team of solicitors can help you with:
- Drafting a Will
- Amending a Will
- Deed of Variation of a Will
- Preparing Lasting Power of Attorney
- Administering Estates on behalf of appointed Executors
- Administering Estates of people who die without a Will (intestate)
- Inheritance Tax planning
- Court of Protection matters – including Deputyship and Statutory Wills
- Asset protection matters – protecting family wealth for the future
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