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Wills & Estates services

It is never easy, we know, but making the right provision for the future, whether yours or your loved ones, is an important thing to do that will give you great peace-of mind. Even should you stay in the rudest of health for many years to come, it will be a real satisfaction and comfort knowing that you have done your best for everyone and can concentrate on enjoying life.

Protecting your wishes now so they’ll be respected when it matters.

What you want matters. It matters to you and to your family. Making firm and balanced decisions now means that you, or your family, don’t have to worry about them later and your family understand exactly what you’d like them to do. There are many ways in which Paul Robinson Solicitors can help you ensure that your best future interests are looked after from making a Will to Powers of Attorney to planning for Inheritance Tax. 

Making a Will is probably the most important thing to do, whatever your age or situation. Without it, your wealth and assets may well not go to the loved ones you would wish as laws allow the State to decide who gets what. Talk to us to find out how easy it is to have your wishes honoured with a Will.

Make the most of what you have. You’ve earned it, after all.

Whether you are making provision for any potential care in the future, or planning to protect your assets for your family by creating a trust or looking at reducing potential Inheritance Tax the sooner you start planning the bigger the benefits to you and your family.

Helping you deal with sensitive issues in a caring, friendly and supportive manner.

The Paul Robinson Solicitors’ Wills & Probate Team has helped a great many clients make their lives ahead a great deal easier as their years advance. It is a sensitive and emotional subject only too easily avoided, but everyone feels so much better and less-stressed having made a little careful planning for a safe and secure future.  
It may be that you are making enquiries on behalf of elderly relatives or have issues arising from an existing Will. The Paul Robinson Solicitors Wills & Probate team are happy to discuss any aspects of the whole process in a sensitive, friendly and caring manner.  
There’s no charge for an initial half hour consultation.
 
Let us help. Call 01702 338338 or 01277 500123 and ask for Wills & Probate.

Wills & Tax Planning

Making a will ensures that your estate passes to your loved ones the way in which you want it to.

According to a recent survey, 63% of people in the UK do not have a will. Those surveyed blamed a lack of time, being too young or not having enough money. There is a common belief that if you die without a will, your spouse/civil partner, partner or children will automatically inherit your estate. The reality is that the law will decide what happens to your estate in accordance with the intestacy rules. For example:

if you have a partner to whom you are not married, they will not be entitled to anything from your estate even if you are cohabiting.
If you are married or in a civil partnership, your spouse/civil partner may not necessarily inherit your entire estate.
In addition if you have children under the age of 18 and you have not made a will the courts will decide who will be their guardians.

With careful planning, you can use the terms of your will as a means of reducing potential inheritance tax on your estate. Inheritance tax is payable at 40% on the portion of your estate that exceeds £325,000 (fixed until 2015).
You can appoint guardians for your children if they are under 18 and set up trusts to safeguard the future of your children or grandchildren.

Making a will is not nearly as complicated as you may think and the service does not have to be expensive. At Paul Robinson Solicitors, we take the time to listen to and understand your requirements so that we can give you tailored advice on the issues you need to consider, ways to save inheritance tax both during your lifetime and in your will and alert you to any potential claims against the estate.

The partners in this firm are happy to be appointed as your executors (executors are the people whom you appoint to administer your estate). We do not make a separate charge for this appointment and it often makes dealing with the administration of the estate much easier and avoids possible family disputes. We provide free storage in our vault for wills prepared by us and if you wish us to do so, we will also register your Will with Certainty, the National Wills Register, so that you can be certain that your Will can be located after your death.

Once made, you should review your will at least every five years and particularly after any major change in your life such as moving house, getting married or divorced or the arrival of grandchildren. By making a will, you can give your family peace of mind and save them a lot of stress and heartache at what will be a very distressing and emotional time. You may also want to consider making a Lasting Power of Attorney which covers the position if you become mentally incapable of handling your affairs during your lifetime.

If you would like to review your existing will, or make a new one, please contact Lee Hibell (Billericay office) on 01277 500123 or Victoria Shepherd (Westcliff office) on 01702 338338.

Estate Administration

Dealing with a deceased person's affairs can be daunting and often takes a long time if you are unfamiliar with procedures. We have a specialist department which offers a professional, friendly and efficient service. Where possible, we aim to wind-up estates within three months. 

We act on behalf of executors or the next of kin where no will has been left. We can deal with all aspects of the estate, if required. The service could include notifying all utility services, handling the sale of property or shares and arranging house clearance, as well as collecting in the assets, settling the liabilities and payment to the beneficiaries. 

We also deal with the calculation of inheritance tax, the tax return and payment to HMRC. Under certain circumstances, a will can be varied by Deed of Variation to minimise the tax liability on an estate. Our specialists will handle the legal formalities involved and liaise with HMRC on your behalf.

Our Litigation Department has extensive experience in contentious probate and offers sympathetic advice and support to guide you through this difficult and complex process. Whether you are challenging or defending the validity of a will or are considering a claim against the estate, we can help.

If you want to visit us to discuss your needs, you will find our offices on the main London Road in Westcliff, convenient for parking locally and public transport. We have a number of private ground floor meeting rooms where you can talk to us in confidence. If you are unable to get here, we can visit your home. 

If you would like to know more about any of the services, we would be happy to explain in more detail.

Lasting Power of Attorney

Hhy should I make a Lasting Power of Attorney?

If you were struck by illness in the form of Alzheimers or dementia, who would handle your finances and day to day affairs?

A proactive way of planning ahead for this situation is by making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) while you have mental capacity. This is a useful legal document that gives another person (the Attorney) the power to manage your affairs if you are unable to do so.  It protects you if your health deteriorates and lessens the strain on your loved ones should the unexpected happen.

What does it cover?

There are two types of LPA:

Property and Financial Affairs
This LPA allows the Attorney to make decisions which relate to your property and affairs, so this could be paying bills, collecting benefits or other income, or even selling the Donor’s house if you need to go into care (subject to conditions).

Health & Welfare
This LPA allows the Attorney to make decisions on your behalf about your personal welfare. This could include making decisions about where you live, giving or refusing consent to life sustaining treatment, together with more day to day decisions relating to diet, daily routine or dress. It can only be used if you do not have the mental capacity to make these decisions yourself.

Who can I appoint as my Attorney?

When choosing your Attorney, you should look to someone who you know and trust, who is happy to take on the responsibilities involved. It is usual to appoint family members, close friends or professionals such as a solicitor. The Partners at Paul Robinson Solicitors would be pleased to consider a request to act as your attorney if you so wish.

The Attorney must be 18 or over, have mental capacity and not be a bankrupt. You can appoint more than one Attorney and they can act together or separately. You may have different attorneys in each LPA or the same person in both.

Can I put restrictions on my Attorney or include my wishes regarding what I would like them to do?

Yes it is possible to restrict the powers of your Attorney but if you trust them whole heartedly this should not be necessary. You can include your wishes regarding how you want your property and finances dealt with or whether you wish to accept certain medical treatment.

When can my Attorney use the LPA?

The Property and Financial Affairs LPA can be used both when you have capacity to act, as well as if you lack mental capacity to make a financial decision. The Health & Welfare LPA can only be used if you lack mental capacity. In both cases, the LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used.

When should my LPA be registered?

We recommend that it be done as soon as you have made the LPA. Registration takes approximately 12 weeks and there is a registration fee of £110 charged by the Office of the Public Guardian.

What if I change my mind?

You can revoke the LPA at any time, so long as you have the mental capacity to do so.

What if I have already made an Enduring Power of Attorney?

Lasting Powers of Attorney replaced Enduring Powers in October 2007. If you made an Enduring Power of Attorney before 1st October 2007, it will be still be valid for decisions regarding your financial affairs. It does not cover health and welfare decisions.

What would happen if I did not make a Lasting Power of Attorney?

Your loved ones would have to be make an application to the Court of Protection to appoint someone to handle your affairs. You will not have control of who is appointed and during this time, no action can be taken to settle your bills or pay your expenses. This is an expensive, stressful and time consuming process which is best avoided by making a Lasting Power of Attorney. If you need to go down the Court of Protection route, our specialist team can guide you through this difficult process.

How can Paul Robinson Solicitors help?

At Paul Robinson Solicitors, our experienced team can create a Lasting Power of Attorney that is tailored to your individual needs. We can take the strain out of this complicated procedure and complete the application and registration for you. If you would like to find out more, please call Lee Hibell (Billericay office) on 01277 500123 or Victoria Shepherd (Westcliff office) on 01702 338338.

Inheritance Tax

Each person has a nil rate allowance of £325,000. If the value of your estate is below this allowance, there is no inheritance tax to pay. If it is above this allowance, the excess is taxed at 40%. In the case of a married couple or civil partnership, any unused nil rate band from the estate of the first to die can be transferred to the survivor. This means that the estate of the survivor could benefit from a tax free allowance of up to £650,000, provided the wills have been structured correctly.

Did you know that……..

You can give away the sum of £3,000 annually. If you do not give it away one year, it can be rolled forward to the next year.

In the event of their marriage or civil partnership, you can give each of your children up to £5,000, each grandchild up to £2,500 and any other relative or friend up to £1,000.

If you are receiving more income than you need to live on, you can make gifts out of that surplus income which could be exempt from IHT.

If you leave a legacy of at least 10% of your net estate to charity you may be able to pay a reduced rate of Inheritance Tax of 36%.

If you own a business, depending on its nature and how long it has been trading, it could qualify for 100% relief from inheritance tax.

If you give your home away and continue to live in it until you die without paying a commercial market rent, it may still be included in your estate for inheritance tax purposes.

How we can help:

Inheritance tax is a complex area but can be mitigated with careful estate planning. At Paul Robinsons, we can provide specialised advice to assist you in taking maximum advantage of the exemptions and reliefs available and guide you on satisfying the technical HMRC rules that apply.

Contentious Probate / Will Disputes

When legal disputes arise between family and friends it can be very distressing, especially in circumstances where a person dies leaving a will that disinherits a close relative or where the financial provisions made are inadequate for those left behind.  Disputes, such as will disputes, may arise in connection with the deceased’s estate, and contentious probate claims allow certain categories of person to dispute their entitlement.

Contentious probate matters include challenging the validity of a will on various grounds such as lack of mental capacity or undue influence by another.  Our experienced lawyers can give you specialist advice tailored to your specific circumstances to achieve the best possible outcome.  We aim to quickly identify the issues within a potential dispute in order to to keep costs to a minimum.

Some examples of probate claims that we regularly deal with include:

  1. Contesting a will
  2. Contesting an estate where there is no will (Intestate)
  3. Inheritance Act Claims
  4. Removal of Executors
  5. Removal of Caveats
  6. Trust and proprietary estoppel claims

If you would like to discuss a potential claim or require any advice, please do not hesitate to email us at contentiousprobate@paulrobinson.co.uk.

Court of Protection

Unfortunately, not everybody has had the opportunity to prepare a Lasting Power of Attorney determining who is to deal with matters on their behalf should they lose capacity.  Should a person lose mental capacity, a family member must make application to the Court of Protection to be appointed as that person’s Deputy.

A court order can be for either Property and Financial affairs or Health & Welfare.

The ideal candidate to make the application to the Court of Protection is a family member.  However, there are other options available for those who may not be lucky enough to have family who are able to take up this role.  A Professional Deputy can be appointed to act in these situations either through the Court or by an independent Solicitor. This is where we can help. Get in contact today.

Get in touch today

Our wills & estates service specialists are happy to advise.
Call us on 01702 338338 (Westcliff Office) or 01277 500123 (Billericay Office).

Megan Barnes
Paralegal
Caroline Cole
Partner
Summer Croft
Paralegal
Carol Etherington
Private Client Executive
Lee Hibell
Senior Associate TEP
Laura Kitchin
Private Client Executive
Victoria Messent
Solicitor
Julia Sood
Solicitor
Amy Thomas
Trainee Solicitor
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Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP. Highly professional and going the extra mile.

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