Wills, probate & Powers of attorney solicitors

The danger of not having a professionally-formed, watertight document can mean your wishes are not respected. For anything to do with wills – yours or those of others, get in touch with Britton and Time Solicitors.
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  OUR SPECIALISMS

Wills

Probate

Powers of Attorney

Managing your affairs in life and in contemplation of your death

Wills

A Will is a legal document in which a person expresses their wishes as to how their money, property, possessions, investments and young children are dealt with when they die. Your Will will specify who will carry out the terms of your Will (the “executors”) and who will benefit under your Will (the “beneficiaries”). It will provide for those you leave behind such as your loved ones, dependants and any Charities you support.

It is important that your Will is up to date to account for any major changes in your circumstances such as a new marriage, divorce, children, extended family or any fall outs you have had with relatives or friends. You can make a New Will or enter into a Codicil to modify your existing Will.

14 points you may not know and should prepare for:

1. D.I.Y Will? A provision/gift will fail if there is any ambiguity. Furthermore, your Will will be invalid if it is not properly attested.

2. If you do not have a Will and no living family members, your property and possessions will go to the Crown.

3. No Will? If you die without a Will, the law of intestacy will determine who will benefit from your estate in order of priority; and will determine that your next of kin will administer your estate. If you previously had a Will but did not destroy it, your estate will be dealt with in accordance with that Will.

4. Remarrying? Your Will is automatically revoked when you re-marry. Your new spouse may benefit more than any children from your previous marriage.

5. Minor children? You can appoint a person you trust in your Will as a Guardian when you die .

6. Set up a Trust? You can set up a trust to deal with the financial provision for any minor children or dependants in need.

7. Inheritance Tax? You can draft your Will in a way that will reduce the amount of inheritance tax.

8. Divorce? your Will is still valid, however, your ex-spouse will no longer benefit under your Will

9. Unmarried? A long-term partner/cohabitee has no entitlement to your estate on your death even if you have children together.

10. Jointly owned assets? Jointly owned assets including property, will pass automatically to the surviving owner/

11. Funeral? You can express your funeral wishes in your Will.

12. Pets? You can appoint someone or a Charity to take care of any pets living at the date of your death.

13. Foreign Assets? Foreign Jurisdiction may not recognise the legal validity of your Will

14. Risk of conflict? You can attach a letter of wishes to your Will to explain your reasons for providing for and excluding someone from your Will (or leaving them less) to avoid any challenges made to the Will.

A Will may be challenged on the basis that a dependant has not been properly provided for or that there had been a change in your circumstances which means that your Will did not accurately represent your wishes at death. Such challenges will lead to stress, upset, conflict between family members, delay and considerable legal and Court fees. Therefore, it is important to keep your Will up to date and your intentions clear.

If you do not have a Will in place when you die or your Will is invalid, those whom you would want to benefit from your estate on your death may not receive anything or less than you intended. Furthermore, you are deemed to have died intestate and the law of intestacy will decide who will benefit from your estate by a set order of priority.

We can help

Britton and Time Solicitor will be able to advise you on the suitable wording of your provisions in your Will and will make sure that your Will is drafted in a way which is legally valid and will express your intentions in a clear way without ambiguity to avoid the risk of it being challenged or a risk of a provision failing.

Britton and Time Solicitors are Wills and Probate Lawyers. We have the required legal expertise, knowledge and practical experience to advise you and draft your Will tailored to your personal circumstances and wishes; with certainty as to the validity of your Will and its provisions. You will have peace of mind that your affairs are in order on your death in accordance with your wishes. We can store your Will for you and can register it with the Certainty Will Register.

It is worth instructing an experienced solicitor to make sure that your wishes are met and to avoid the repercussion to those you leave behind if your Will is challenged.

Probate

Probate is the process of dealing with an estate of someone who has died. The length of time it takes to deal with the estate will depend on the complexity of the estate and amount of assets. The average estate will usually take around one year to deal with. It is important that all assets at the date of death are valued; debts are paid, liabilities and any income and expenses arising from the estate are accounted for.

Probate is a very lengthy process, and it is important to get it right. Personal Representatives and Executors have been held personally liable in the past for reasons not limited to failing to deal with estates properly, not paying the correct inheritance tax, not accounting to the HMRC for income tax and not recording the estate accounts correctly.

The Grant of Probate

A Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration (“Grant”) is a legal document which provides executors or personal representatives with the authority to deal with an estate. For example, the Grant will be required to sell investments/shares, sell/transfer property, collect in money from bank accounts, pension providers, life insurance policies, savings accounts etc, and to close them.

Executors/Personal Representatives may not have the time to deal with an estate or have the knowledge of the strict legal process or administrative process in doing so. Dealing with probate and estate administration can be stressful, time consuming and overwhelming.

What can you do?

Instructing Britton and Time Solicitors will ensure that the process is dealt with as smoothly, efficiently and as accurately as possible. You will have peace of mind that the estate is dealt with in the correct manner and in accordance with any Will of the deceased, the intestacy rules, inheritance tax rules, forms and schedules, and your instructions. A solicitor will be able to calculate and deal with the inheritance tax; and will apply for the Grant on your behalf. The District Probate Registry has strict legal requirements which must be met for you to obtain the Grant. Furthermore, interest will be payable if you do not meet the strict time limit to pay inheritance tax.

Issues?

Britton and Time Solicitor will advise you if the deceased has died intestate; if there are no surviving named executors in the Will; if an executor does not wish to act as executor, or if you are concerned with how the executors are dealing with an estate. A beneficiary can enter a caveat to delay or prevent probate from being granted.

We can help

Britton and Time Solicitors have significant experience in dealing with non-contentious probate matters and contentious probate. We are experienced in dealing with probate and estate administration for small (simple) and large or complex estates. We know the procedure well including familiarity with the IHT forms and schedules. We will effectively and efficiently deal with the estate administration on your behalf from valuing everything the deceased owned at the date of death; contacting utilities and asset holders, valuation of property, arranging unoccupied property insurance, dealing with inheritance Tax and Income Tax, collecting in assets, paying liabilities and expenses, preparing the estate accounts for approval, paying legacies and distributing to beneficiaries. You will be kept up to date on the progress without the stress.

When a person dies, emotions are heightened, and there may be conflict between family members or disputes regarding inheritance and management of the estate/ It is not unusual that some people may feel that they have not been correctly provided for. Claims against the estate can cause stress, significant delay in obtaining probate and expensive litigation. A solicitor will represent you to resolve issues and settle them amicably. Our firm can advise you and assist you on your options and action to take.

Powers of Attorney

There are different types of Powers of Attorney (“POA”). A POA is a legal document which provides for an attorney be appointed to make decisions on your behalf, or act on your behalf if you no longer have the capacity to do so (or no longer wish to do so).

An Ordinary Power of Attorney (“OPOA”) will be necessary where you have the mental capacity to make your own decisions, however, you need someone to make decisions on your behalf on a temporary basis. An example would be where you are in hospital having treatment, travelling or merely want help with your financial affairs.

A Lasting Power of Attorney (“LPA”) will be necessary when you no longer have the capacity to make your own decisions. Your attorney’s will make decisions on your behalf. There are two types of LPA’s. One is for financial and property affairs and the other is for health and welfare. It is important to note that the LPA will only come into effect once you have lost your mental capacity to deal with your own affairs; and will cease on your death.

1. Financial and Property Affairs?

An LPA for Financial and Property Affairs is used to assist you with paying your bills, mortgage and dealing with your business, investments and property.

2. Health and Welfare?

An LPA for Health and Welfare is used to assist you with your medical care, medical treatment, daily health care and when moving into a care home.

Preparing for the worst

A person can lose capacity to make their own decisions or deal with their own financial affairs or health and welfare without any warning. People lose capacity with old age, dementia, medical conditions, stroke and accidents/head trauma. It is advisable to prepare for the worst.

No LPA?

A lot of people incorrectly presume that if they lose capacity their spouse, family member or long-term partner will deal with their financial, property, health and wellbeing affairs on their behalf. However, they will not have the authority to do so. An LPA is required with the person named as an attorney. If not, then your loved one will have to incur the long delay and expense of applying to the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy to deal with your affairs for you.

We can help

A solicitor from Britton and Time can advise you on the most appropriate POA to use in your circumstances. A solicitor will advise you on the different types of LPA’s and the powers and duties of your attorney(s). LPA’s need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian and need to comply with specific requirements and order of signing by you as the donor, your attorney’s and certificate provider etc. It will give you peace of mind if you instruct an experienced solicitor to deal with your POA/LPA in the correct manner. If you are unsure or wish to limit your attorney’s powers, a solicitor will advise you accordingly.

Britton and Time solicitors are experienced lawyers in advising on and preparing POA/LPA’s. We will ensure that your LPA is validly executed in the correct order and will register it with the Office of the Public Guardian. We will make sure that you have an understanding and the capacity to enter an LPA without any pressure and with peace of mind that your affairs will be dealt with by those you trust if you ever need it. LPA’s are available to help you if you are no longer able to deal with your own affairs alone. If you wish to remove an attorney or end your LPA at any time, we can assist you in doing so by preparing a Deed of Revocation for you.

We can assist you with Wills, Probate and Powers of Attorney

Britton and Time Solicitors are Wills and probate solicitors with a wealth of knowledge and experience in all matters of Wills and Probate in Brighton. The firm also consists of experienced contested Wills and probate lawyers dealing with contested Wills and probate. If you need any assistance or advice with your Will, reviewing the terms of a Will, contentious Wills or probate, applying for probate and administering an estate, Powers of Attorney; or any advice on Wills and trusts, Wills and estates and inheritance tax or claims made against the estate, then please do not hesitate to contact us on 01273726951 or using the contact us section of our website.

Whatever your situation, get in touch today for a professional, cost-effective way forward.

  OUR SPECIALISMS

Wills

Probate

Powers of Attorney

Whatever your situation, get in touch today for a professional, cost-effective way forward.

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