Private Wealth & Inheritance

We are here to help protect your future and the futures of those you care about. Our Private Wealth Lawyers provide a tailored service to UK and International clients.

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Private Wealth & Inheritance

Herrington Carmichael LLP has been advising families and businesses for over 180 years providing increasingly specialist legal practice. Our Private Wealth solicitors offer a wide range of services, beyond that of a traditional private client law firm to meet the demands of UK and international clients. 

Our goal is to provide support to you and your family, safeguard your assets for the years ahead, and explore legitimate tax reduction strategies.

Wills
Trusts & Estate Planning
Probate & Estate Admin
Inheritance & Tax Planning
Lasting Power of Attorney
Wills & Inheritance Disputes
Court of Protection
Solicitors for the Elderly
Divorce & Family Law
Property Law

Writing a Will

Writing a Will gives you control over what happens to your assets when you pass away. This legal document allows you to choose who will manage your estate as executor and how your possessions and wealth will be distributed.

One of the most important elements of your Will is to ensure the security and peace of mind for those you care about. It is impossible to predict our future but when preparing a Will, it is essential to obtain up to date advice on the current Inheritance Tax position and how best to structure your Will. Without an official Will, your estate will be subject to intestacy laws that rigidly dictate who inherits what. The outcomes might not align with your wishes or be the most tax-efficient for your heirs.

Our private wealth & inheritance solicitors are experts in the preparation of Wills and will ensure that your new Will is suitable for your circumstances. We draft Wills that are bespoke to you, we will not make several additions in cost once we have received your information. Our Wills are tailored to you and your family and will be stored free of charge.

Writing a Will

Trusts & Estate Planning

A trust is a legal arrangement where assets are transferred to one party (the trustee) with the intention that they be held and managed for the benefit of another (the beneficiaries). Trusts can be useful estate planning tools as they allow a person to distribute their assets according to specific conditions and guidelines that they set out, often aimed at minimizing taxes or protecting assets.

There are many types of trusts suited for various purposes, including living trusts, marital trusts, charitable trusts, spendthrift trusts, and special needs trusts. When creating a trust, the grantor decides who will manage the assets as trustee, who will benefit as named beneficiaries, and under what circumstances or contingencies distributions should occur.

Trusts can be complex, but they can provide more control than outright distributions through a will while avoiding probate. The details can be tailored to achieve personal financial and estate planning goals.

Our Private Wealth & Inheritance solicitors will work with you to develop a customized solution tailored to your specific goals and priorities. Our personalized approach aims to provide strategies and protections suited to the complexities of your assets and relationships.

Trusts & Estate Planning

Probate & Estate Admin

When a person passes away, their assets go through a court-supervised legal process known as probate. The purpose of probate is to inventory and appraise the deceased’s property, resolve any outstanding debts and taxes owed, and transfer legal title or ownership of assets to their heirs according to the person’s will. If there is no will, assets get distributed according to state intestacy laws. The executor named in the will or appointed by the court handles estate administration by working through this involved settlement process. Completing probate and administration can take months to years depending on the size and complexity of the estate.

In order to deal with the administration of the Estate of the deceased, the Personal Representative may be required to make an application for a Grant of Representation to the Probate Registry.

Our Private Client Solicitors have a wealth of experience in Estate administration and can help you every step of the way, delivering economic, personal and compassionate service.

Probate & Estate Admin

Inheritance & Tax Planning

At Herrington Carmichael we receive many questions relating to the legal process on tax and inheritance – after years of property market growth, we are seeing more cases of clients who want to gain an understanding of the Inheritance Tax Reliefs and Exemptions with a little advice on income and capital gains tax.

Currently an individual has an Inheritance Tax free sum (known as the Nil Rate Band) of £325,000, and the value of their net Estate above this sum may be subject to Inheritance Tax at a rate of 40%.

For individuals who are married or in a Civil Partnership, they can benefit from the spouse exemption, which means that they can transfer assets between each other during their joint lives, or upon their respective deaths, without any Inheritance Tax implications.

We are recognised specialists in inheritance tax in the UK. In addition, we do have considerable knowledge of income and capital gains tax and often advise on these.

Inheritance & Tax Planning

Lasting Power of Attorney

When someone dies without leaving a valid Will, their assets (the Estate) must be shared out according to certain rules. These are called the Rules of Intestacy.

 The laws of intestacy vary by jurisdiction but generally prioritize close family members like spouses, children, or parents. The court appoints an administrator to manage the deceased’s affairs and distribute assets according to legal guidelines. The lack of a Will can lead to complications, delays, and potential disputes over inheritances.

 Without a Will’s guidance, the probate process becomes more intricate, emphasizing the importance of comprehensive estate planning to ensure one’s wishes are honored.

Our Intestacy Rules Flowchart will help you to understand what will happen to your assets if you die without having a valid Will.

Lasting Power of Attorney

Wills & Inheritance Disputes

Are you looking to contest a Will or perhaps you are experiencing a probate or inheritance dispute? Our specialist lawyers can advise you on all types of disputes relating to Wills, Trusts and Estates.

A poorly drafted Will can create uncertainty concerning the intentions of the deceased as to how their assets were to be distributed. This can lead to arguments as to whether the Will is valid and a potential challenge from relatives or friends of the deceased who believed they should have been included. In addition, with people now living longer and the increase of dementia and other diseases, there are now more incidents of Wills being challenged on grounds of lack of the appropriate mental capacity.

In most cases where a dispute over a Will occurs (typically between family members) it is best to seek to resolve any disputes amicably. Where this is not possible, court action might be the only alternative.

Where more strategic input is required, we will offer you pragmatic thoughtful solutions to avoid a dispute or mitigate risk with advice that is clear, concise, and cost effective.

Wills & Inheritance Disputes

Court of Protection

The Court of Protection helps with people who might be lacking the mental capacity to manage affairs or make their own decisions. It can appoint someone to help.

If someone has lost their mental capacity and they don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, an application will need to be made to the Court of Protection to appoint someone to act as a ‘deputy’. If successful they will receive an order telling them what they can and can’t do.

It is sometimes necessary to apply to the Court of Protection for an Order relating to someone’s affairs when that person is unable to manage these for themselves. You will be required to submit a few forms and likely provide a doctor’s certificate.

The court will then be able to give the power to make decisions to someone who can manage their affairs and make decisions relating to issues around finance and health – usually a relative or close friend. They will become the ‘Deputy’.

We specialise in Court of Protection applications and our solicitors would be happy to complete the paperwork for you to ensure it is fully compliant.

Court of Protection

The Association of Lifetime Lawyers

Later life and retiring after years of working should be fun – now might be the time to do some of the things you always dreamed of doing. Our Private Wealth Lawyers can help you arrange your affairs and plan effectively for the fun years.

It does remain a fact that as we get older and despite our best efforts, we do actually become frailer and there is a tendency for our memory and mental agility to gradually decline. Whilst one may not wish to think about the later stages of life, the fact remains that planning in advance is always far better than putting everything off, as there’s always a danger that if you put things off you will in fact miss the boat.

We have specialist SFE Accredited Members for advising older and vulnerable clients on legal needs. Graeme Black, Nicole Miller and Minnaar Badenhorst are accredited members.

Our specialist team of Private Wealth Lawyers can help you make sure you have everything nicely planned in advance.

Divorce & Family Law

Our specialist family lawyers help clients navigate complex legal issues during emotionally difficult times surrounding divorce, child custody disputes, pre-nuptials and post-nuptials, and other sensitive family situations. Whether crafting adoption papers, advising on financial obligations to an ex-spouse, or representing a parent seeking custody, our family solicitors help you understand your rights and options under the governing laws. Our goal is to support families and individuals through challenging transitions and protect the best interests of any children involved.

Divorce & Family Law

Property Law

Our property team is one of the largest and most experienced in the region. Our professionals provide a specialist service across a range of practice areas.

Our strength across residential development, commercial investment property and real estate finance is shown through our growing list of over 40 active regional house builders and national developers including Cala Homes, Barratt, Bovis, David Wilson Homes and many more.

Our teams are very experienced and can answer all of your property needs, from plot sales through to purchase of your brand-new home.

Property Law

FAQs

What happens if someone dies without a Will?

When someone dies without leaving a valid Will, their assets (the Estate) must be shared out according to certain rules. These are called the Rules of Intestacy.

Our Intestacy Rules Flowchart will help you to understand what will happen to your assets if you die without having a valid Will.

How much does it cost to contest a Will?

In most cases where someone is trying to contest a Will, it is best to seek to resolve any disputes amicably. Where this is not possible then court action might be the only alternative, but it comes at a cost both personally and financially.

What happens if you can’t find the original Will but hold a good copy?

The Probate Registry usually insists on an original Will before issuing a grant of probate. However, it is possible to apply for a grant using a copy will, but this involves making a separate application to the Registry. The Registry will require detailed evidence which can be difficult to obtain. We have made successful applications to prove copy Wills so contact us if you would like to know more.

What are the different types of Powers of Attorney?

There are two different types of LPAs: “Property and Financial Affairs” and “Health and Welfare.”

However, there are a number of different Powers of Attorney which may be used in addition to LPAs.

General Powers of Attorney

This is the shortest type of Power of Attorney and can only be used to give power over the Donor’s property and financial affairs. This type of document is useful for short-term needs, for example if the Donor is going away and wishes the Attorney to manage their affairs during that time. This does not stop the Donor from managing their own affairs and the Attorney will be accountable to the Donor for the decisions made and the actions taken on the Donor’s behalf. However, it should be noted that the General Power of Attorney will cease to be effective if the Donor loses their mental capacity.

Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)

It is no longer possible to make this type of Power of Attorney, however EPAs that were made in previous years are valid and will remain so provided that they were properly executed. An EPA will allow the Attorney to make decisions about the Donor’s property and financial affairs. However, an EPA must be registered if the Donor begins to lose their mental capacity. If you would like to discuss this further or require any advice or assistance in respect of the registration process, please contact a member of our Private Wealth Team.

 

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Pricing Guides

We are required by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to publish certain pricing information. 

Please contact us for an accurate fee proposal based on your particular facts and circumstances.

Best Law Firms 2024

Herrington Carmichael has once again been named in the Times Best Law Firms. We were first listed in 2023 and have once again made the Best Law Firms list for 2024.

www.thetimes.co.uk/article/herrington-carmichael

Best Law Firm 2024