Talking about Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney is a depressing subject, however not having one when you need one is even more depressing, especially for your family. We believe that EVERYONE should put their affairs in order before they die or lose mental capacity.
A carefully drafted Will can help reduce the amount taken from the Estate for care fees and Inheritance Tax.
Our firm have been writing Wills for our clients since 2003.
If you lose your mental capacity, someone needs to be appointed to make your decisions on your behalf. There are two options: Pick your own person whilst you have capacity or let the Government pick one for you when you lose capacity.
If you pick someone whilst you have capacity, they are called an attorney and they work for you.
If the Government picks someone, they are called a deputy and they work for the Court of Protection i.e. the Government.
Losing mental capacity without a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place means dealing with the Court of Protection. This can prove to be expensive, time consuming and emotionally draining.
Our firm have been setting up LPAs (formerly EPAs) for our clients since 2003.
When moving into, or helping a loved one into a care home, you need to fully understand about costs and affordability, including what the state provides. Paying for a care home place is often a family concern and it may be essential for everyone involved to have a good understanding of the issues.
We are strong advocates of the use of trusts in helping our clients restructure their finances in order to minimise loss of their estate in the event of death or ill health.
Life assurance and pensions can be placed in trust to ensure payment can be made free of Inheritance Tax and without the requirement for a grant of probate.
Single premium investments (most commonly investment bonds) can also be placed in trust. One purpose of this is to shield the value of the investment from Inheritance Tax. This can place some restrictions on access to capital and/or income, dependent on what type of trust is used.
However if Inheritance Tax is NOT an issue (and for many of our clients it is not), a trust can be used to shield the value of the investment from probate fees. As this type of trust is NOT effective for Inheritance Tax, there are not the same restrictions associated with a trust taken out for Inheritance tax. The other main benefit of this type of trust is that the proceeds of the Will can be distributed without waiting for the grant of probate.
The whole point of trusts is to ensure that "the right people get the right money at the right time".
You are being asked to deal with something you know very little about at a time when you are emotionally drained. Solicitors and banks can offer a fixed price service which will take the stress of estate administration away from you.
However, you will pay handsomely for this. For example, a leading high street bank will charge 4% plus vat on the first £500,000 of your estate. Solicitors might charge around 3% plus vat of the estate and/or hourly rates.
We have teamed up with a leading probate specialist who offer a fixed price to administer the estate of your loved one. The work quoted is based on the complexity of the estate, so their average fees are £2,414 for a standard estate, £4,215 for an intermediate estate and £5,414 for a complex estate. These fees are exclusive of VAT. They will take responsibility for the estate administration.