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Contact us to speak to one of our Wills and Probate solicitors or to book an appointment in any of our offices, to get the right advice or for more information about the services available to you.
A Will is one of the most important legal documents that you will make in your lifetime. With the right preparation and careful planning, it can make sure that dealing with your estate is as easy as possible for those you leave behind.
The process of writing a Will is often seen as straightforward but there may be complex issues that can mean your wishes are not put into place as you expected. Each situation is different and can be complicated and complicated cases will require special expertise and detailed knowledge of the relevant law.
Bridge Law’s Wills & Probate solicitors are experienced with all areas of Will drafting and the creation of Lasting Powers of Attorney. Where appropriate we can also guide you on Inheritance Tax and Trust matters.
Our solicitors are friendly and approachable and will give your case the careful consideration that it deserves to help make this often difficult process easier and to ensure that you understand the impact and consequences of your plans.
Making a Will is important for everyone to ensure those important to you are provided for should something happen to you. A Will ensures that your affairs and important decisions after you are gone will be dealt with by the people you wish. Without a Will, your estate will pass to certain classes of relatives and if you have no such relatives can potentially pass to the state. Making a Will ensures that your wishes are known and acted upon, which usually makes it easier for those left behind with to deal with. A Will may be particularly important if you have children of more than one relationship or you are a single parent and wish to make arrangements as to who will be the guardian of your children if anything happens to you. Even if you have made a Will you should review this following important life events such as the birth of children, marriage or divorce. Previous Wills are generally revoked on marriage and gifts or appointments of former spouses as executors no longer take effect upon divorce. There can be inheritance tax savings in making Wills. For more information or advice on making a Will, whether as an individual or a married couple please get in touch with us on Info@bridgelawsolicitors.co.uk, visit one of our offices, or call us on 0161 427 0084/0800 840 1183.
After a relationship break down thinking about your Will may be the last thing on your mind, but it Is important to consider that should something happen to you your spouse will remain your next of kin until decree absolute stage in a divorce, or may remain the main executor or beneficiary in your existing Will if you do not get it re-written. On divorce any previous gifts or appointments of your former spouse as executor will no longer take effect. For advice on creating or re-writing a Will after a relationship breakdown, you can contact Carol-Anne Baker our family law solicitor who will be able to advise you on how your relationship breakdown may require changes to your Will and help you to revise it.
Upon remarrying, any pre-existing Will becomes void unless the Will was made in contemplation of marriage or Civil Partnership to a specific person. We can advise you on where you and your loved ones stand in your Will and advise whether a new Will needs drafting.
Unless you make a Will and specify that your partner should be provided for by your estate or have rights to act as executor in making funeral arrangements and so on, they will have little or no legal rights. This often affects cohabiting couples where the surviving partner did not jointly own the property, which may result in the survivor potentially being made homeless if the property is distributed to beneficiaries in accordance with the rules of intestacy. This also applies if the deceased partner owned a share in the property as Tenants in Common. Unless specified within a Will, the share will be distributed in the same way, which often leads to loved ones being involved in stressful situations or even court cases at what is an already upsetting time for them. If you own a property as Joint Tenants, your share will be left to your partner without the need for a Will but if you wish to leave your share to someone other than your partner then it is recommended to hold property as Tenants in Common and make a Will.
Similarly to cohabiting couples, unless specified within your Will, your share of your business will be distributed amongst your children and spouse before your business partner under Intestacy rules. Issues can also arise in relation to Inheritance Tax obligations which can mean your family have to sell the share, which may not necessarily be to your business partner. This could have huge implications on their ability to continue to run the business as normal.
You and your business partner can consider various options to ensure your estate plans are formalised, such as formal partnership agreement, including a plan for what will happen if one party dies. Options to consider could include forming a trust to hold your share of the business, or creating a Lasting Power of Attorney should something happen to you where you are incapacitated and unable to carry on running your business. These consideration can avoid your business partner or beneficiary having to go through expensive and lengthy legal processes to continue the business.
We can also assist in the creation of Lasting Powers of Attorney for Property, Finance, Health and Welfare. A lasting power of attorney is a legal document that lets you appoint one or more persons to assist you in or making decisions for you if you become unable to make decisions due to injury or illness which affects your mental capacity.
At Bridge Law we can advise and assist you in the best way to financially provide for a disabled beneficiary. Usually a Trust is the best way to provide financially for your disabled or vulnerable beneficiaries, allowing you to appoint people you trust as Trustees to decide how to use the assets for the beneficiary, which is governed by rules set out within the Trust document. There are two types of trusts often used for disabled or vulnerable persons, Discretionary Trusts or Disabled Person’s trusts. Our experienced Wills and Probate solicitor can advise you on which is the best option in your circumstances.
Although it is unthinkable and upsetting to think of leaving your child behind, It is important to consider that If something should happen to you that your intended person Is able to legally care for your child, whether this be because the other party named on the birth certificate is unsuitable to be your child’s guardian, or if you are a single parent and the other parent is deceased or not on the scene. You may also need to consider appointing other guardians in the case of your preferred legal guardians being unable to carry out their role. It is also worth considering that unless you have formally adopted a step child, they will not be entitled to Inherit from you under intestacy rules and the easiest way to ensure they do so is to specify them within your Will.
When you leave assets to your loved ones they may have to pay tax on assets you leave. It is important to consider what assets in your estate inheritance tax may be deducted from. We can assist you in inheritance tax planning to reduce the amount payable, but It is vital that correct advice is given relating specifically to your circumstances as breaking tax rules or incorrect completion of information to HMRC can lead to high penalties.
We can advise and assist you in setting up trusts, structuring of trusts, managing trusts and choosing the right trustees. There are a variety of trusts that you can create, and we can help advise you on the most suitable options, so you make the best provisions for you and your loved ones. We can also advise Trustees on how they can ensure they meet their obligations as a Trustee to ensure the clients wishes are met. If you have any questions relating to a Trust matter, please contact us to speak to an experienced solicitor or visit one of our offices.
We can advise and assist you In all probate and estate administration matters, such as obtaining grants of probate, assisting executors in distributing assets to beneficiaries, paying off debts, working out the Inheritance tax payable, making sure the Will provided is valid, or if there is no Will, we can advise you on the how to distribute assets under the Rules of Intestacy.
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Bridge Law is a trading name of Bridge Law Solicitors Limited, a company registered in England and Wales: company number 10007745.
Registered office: 40 Town Street, Marple Bridge SK6 5AA. Director: Claire Stewart.