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Wills, Inheritance, Trusts & Probate
Whether you’ve worked hard for your money and need help protecting it, or you’ve recently lost a loved one and need our help and support, our specialist team are here to help you. Our team consists of specialists from FW Goodson (since May 2015) and BTMK Todmans (since September 2018).
You’ve worked hard to grow your wealth. We’ll help you to protect it. A properly drafted will allows you to leave your assets to the people or charities that you really care about. Well drafted wills can also ensure that vulnerable beneficiaries are looked after with added protection built in for them and for your assets.
Making a will can bring peace of mind for the following reasons too:
- To ensure your loved ones are provided for, including those who may not automatically have rights to your estate, for example, unmarried partners
- To mitigate claims from people who may feel entitled to a share in your estate
- To appoint guardians for children under 18
- To provide for people who may have debt problems
- If you have a business, you may want to make special provision for this
- Reduce the Inheritance Tax liability for your heirs and perhaps charities too;
Our real specialism in this area, and what sets us apart, is our ability to collaborate with your accountant or your tax or financial adviser to help to implement the strategy that has been crafted for you and your family by the careful drafting of a will or a trust (see below) to give effect to your wishes. Our team includes a member of Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and as such we follow the STEP code for Will preparation in England and Wales.
Will Disputes & Contentious Probate
Whether you have concerns about the validity of a Will, the interpretation of a Will, the manner in which an estate or trust is being administered, or have not received what you expected by way of inheritance, our specialist team can assist. Inheritance disputes are more and more common and our preferred route is always to avoid a dispute from escalating. We are one of the few firms in the region that has a highly experienced litigation solicitor specialising in any claim or defence under the Inheritance Act 1975, challenges to the validity of a will, forged will disputes and also trust disputes which are also increasingly common. We have years of experience in dealing with the mediation process, an alternative dispute resolution method which is almost always suitable for disputes of this nature. However, you can rest assured that where alternative dispute resolution is not possible, we’ll fight your corner robustly and ensure that you obtain the best outcome possible.
Probate & Administration of Estates
We’re experts in this field and members of STEP. We can provide the entire range of estate administration services and we’ll work with you if there are parts that you feel comfortable in dealing with, leaving us to deal with the rest. Our role is to make the probate and estate administration process as simple and as stress free as possible. We can obtain the Grant of Representation, ensure that the deceased’s tax liabilities are settled, and our job of course is to make sure that assets are realised, other liabilities are paid and the estate is distributed in accordance with the will or with the law. We ensure that collaborate with our property law department to ensure that any consequential sale takes place quickly and with minimal disruption. If the estate includes a business, we can involve our company and commercial lawyers to give the best advice possible.
A trust is a legal agreement which is mainly used as a means of protecting your money and assets. It can be within a Will, or set up separately. We can help you choose what type of trust you may need and advise the Trustees, the people that look after the trust, or the beneficiaries, the people who benefit from the trust. We’re experts in this field and members of STEP.
A Trust can be used as a measure of protection and for preserving your wealth. There can be a number of reasons why you may want to set one up, such as:
- To provide for a child under 18
- To create a trust fund which a beneficiary can only access at a certain age
- If an illness or disability prevents you from being able to look after your money yourself, money can be given to a Trustee to decide how it can be best used for your benefit. This can also apply to the beneficiaries of your Will
- To ensure that you don’t lose any means tested benefits should you receive compensation, perhaps after a personal injury award
- To prevent an adult child’s inheritance being taken into account should be going through bankruptcy or divorce when you die
- To prevent the local authority taking the value of your house into account should you need nursing or residential care.
We will always work with your other professional advisers to implement a Trust and to ensure that it meets your needs.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
We will provide you with advice on the preparation and the registration of a Lasting Power of Attorney.
Advising the Elderly
Our professional team are experts at dealing with vulnerable clients, and have extensive experience in advising the elderly, due to many years of working with clients of all ages – and often several generations of the same family. We tailor our advice to your needs, and our aim is to make every step of the way as straightforward and easy as possible for you. This can include advice on asset protection, long term care contracts, Powers of Attorney, Court of Protections issues, making gifts, wills, Statutory Wills and funeral planning. We appreciate that it isn’t always easy for clients to get to us, and if you are unable to attend our offices, we offer home visits.
Court of Protection
A Court of Protection application may be necessary when a person lacks mental capacity to make certain decisions and has not previously set up Lasting Powers of Attorney. People may lack mental capacity for many reasons, such as serious brain injury, illness, dementia or severe disability. It may occur in totally unexpected circumstances, such as going into hospital for an operation or procedure and it not going as planned. Somebody interested in their welfare can apply to the Court of Protection to become their Deputy. If authorised, the Deputy will be able to make decisions for them. Lasting Powers of Attorney, made when the person has capacity can avoid this. However, should it be necessary, we can guide you through the whole application process. We are one of the few firms in the region with a dedicated, highly experienced litigation solicitor specialising in wills, inheritance and probate work. Where we can, we always try and resolve a dispute before making an application to the Court of Protection but where this isn’t possible, we can use our significant experience of both the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Civil Procedure Rules and the Court process to ensure that applications can be made as quickly as possible, recognising that these can be challenging times for families.
Simon Jones – Consultant Solicitor
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“Just like to say thank you for all your support and help you have done for me. I must say I was absolutely shocked to have got some money from the estate. I was really not expecting anything, so thank you for sorting out the estate for me.”
– Anon, Southend
“BTMK carried out a professional and amiable administration of my grandmother’s estate. We were informed precisely of all procedures, and consulted as necessary, but with full attention made to unnecessary costs. It was clear that every effort was made in order to manage the estate according to the intentions and wishes of my grandmother. “
– Ms. N, Brentwood
“Fantastic service, and you made me feel very comfortable at a difficult time.”
– Mr. H, Southend
“Friendly staff who listen to what you have to say.“
– Mr. D, Leigh-on-Sea
“The advice & information was clear & precise.“
– Mr. B, Braintree