There are two main reasons for instructing a true expert when it comes to drafting a will or setting up a trust.
: A carefully considered and well-thought-out will or trust needs to look further ahead than many would think. Perhaps past the immediate beneficiaries, as the future can hold a number of possibilities and uncertainties. You need confidence in where and to whom your estate will pass.
: An important consideration that is often overlooked and underappreciated. What issues, charities, or cultural and artistic bodies interest you? A will or a trust is not simply about 'who gets what', but also how you would like to be remembered. You may wish your family and friends to remember you as having left money to a cause dear to your heart.
The best way to tackle such issues is in a face-to-face meeting. Our friendly solicitors will listen to your family background, your concerns, and what has been of importance to you during your life. This very important meeting is included in our fixed fee quotations
Whatever the size of the estate and the particular circumstances, we offer a top quality legal service at a reasonable price, helping you minimise Inheritance tax and, if required, set up a trust(s) for beneficiaries. If your estate requires the setting up of a trust(s), our experts will guide you through the process to ensure your wishes are followed exactly. Don´t leave it too late, as this is a complex area of law and taxation which requires expert consideration to ensure your loved ones are taken care of.
Our team, experts in trust law, will work with our Liverpool divorce solicitors
to protect your trust interests following a divorce, when the financial settlement is agreed.
Your Estate Goes to the Beneficiaries You Choose
Inheritance Tax is Minimised
Your Will is Ideally Tailored to Your Circumstances and Needs
Wills and probate is a complicated area of law, and despite the superficial attractions of do-it-yourself wills, the services of a specialist wills and probate solicitor are critical in ensuring that a deceased person's wishes are followed.
Bartletts Solicitors can help you draft your will and can store it safely on your behalf. We also offer a full probate service, to allow you to quickly apply for and obtain a Grant of Probate, enabling you to manage and distribute the estate of the deceased.
Regrettably but inevitably, we also provide a disputed wills and contested probate service
. These bitter family arguments typically arise out of poorly thought-out wills and trusts. Avoid potential family fallouts with our premium legal service covering contested probate work and disputes over wills and inheritances.
To fit around your busy life all work can be carried out online, by post and by telephone. However, we would be happy to make you an appointment if you would prefer to see an expert face to face.
Updating a will to reflect a person’s current circumstances is naturally important and needs to be done formally, rather than by simply altering the wording of an existing signed and witnessed will, which would invalidate it. There are two methods of doing so - either by drafting a codicil, a legal document that makes alterations and serves as a supplement to an existing will, or by writing an entirely new will to replace the old one.
Changes to a will reflect changes to a person’s life, such as a marriage/civil partnership, divorce/separation, the birth of a child (who does not automatically become a beneficiary) or a change in financial circumstances, for example, when an individual sells a property or receives an inheritance. It may also be the case that a beneficiary to an existing will has died, or that the testator simply wishes to change how their estate is distributed following their death.
Major events can also affect the validity of an existing will. A marriage or entry into a civil partnership, for example, means that a previous will is automatically invalidated, while if a person divorces or dissolves a civil partnership and the former spouse or civil partner is the sole beneficiary, the deceased will be held to have died intestate (without a valid will). Various other complexities regarding the rights of former partners highlight the need to update a will as soon as possible following a separation.
Generally speaking, simple changes to a will, such as appointing a new executor to redirecting a bequest to a different beneficiary, can be made via a codicil, while more significant changes, such as those outlined above, will require the writing of a new will to replace the old one. Codicils are the cheaper alternative but can add to the complexity of administering an estate in the future (particularly if there is more than one codicil), as all the documents will need to be evaluated together, which may result in the deceased’s wishes being misinterpreted.
Drafting a new will can avoid any confusion as to the intentions of the deceased, as well as the possibility of a codicil being lost for whatever reason. When a new will is written, all copies of old wills and codicils should be destroyed, and the new will should clearly state that it revokes (cancels) any such previous documents. If an estate requires a Grant of Probate, both a will and any alterations made by a codicil will be publicly visible, and a further reason for writing a new will is to prevent disclosure of such changes.
A trust fund is a legal instrument which provides a flexible way of protecting and managing an individual’s assets, while ensuring the financial stability of family members and loved ones in the future.
A trust may be created during an individual’s lifetime or be written into a will to take effect on their passing. It may include all types of assets including cash, shares and property, which will be managed by one or more trustees in the interest of the beneficiaries.
One of the great benefits of trusts is their versatility. There are various different types of trust which can serve many different purposes according to the wishes of the ‘settlor’ and the needs of the beneficiaries. The most common are bare trusts, discretionary trusts and life interest trusts.
Trusts are usually created to make sure that an individual’s capital and the income deriving from it are protected for future generations. A trust can be used to distribute capital to beneficiaries at a certain point in the future, or to allocate the income derived from it while preserving the capital. A trust can therefore provide security against beneficiaries squandering both capital and income.
Specialist legal advice is essential for three main reasons: determining whether setting up a trust is suitable for an individual, identifying which type of trust is the most appropriate given their circumstances, and ensuring that the trust is set up in the most tax-efficient way.
Our firm offers genuine expertise in this often complicated area of the law.
Why Do I Need to Make a Will?
The main reason for making a will is to make sure your estate passes to the beneficiaries you choose, including family, friends and good causes. A will is about planning ahead and protecting your legacy.
How Long Does it Take to Make a Will?
This depends on the complexity of the will. After a face-to-face meeting with your solicitor, either in person or virtually (online), a draft can be prepared in 7-10 days. More complicated wills obviously take more time.
How Much Does it Cost to Make a Will?
Every client’s needs are different, and the cost of a will depends on the complexity of those needs and the amount of work required to draft them into an agreed and valid document. You can view our guide prices here
Do I Need to Use a Solicitor to Make a Will?
Wills, trusts and probate is a complicated area of law, and the services of an experienced solicitor specialising in this field are important in ensuring that a will accurately reflects the wishes of the client(s). DIY wills often limit the powers of the executor, which can lead to problems in the future.
What is an Executor and Who Should I Choose?
An executor is charged with ensuring that a will is administered correctly and according to the testator’s wishes. The executor(s) is normally a family member, but may also be a friend or professional legal adviser.
When Do I Need to Update My Will?
Reasons for updating a will include a marriage/civil partnership, divorce/separation, the birth of a child or a significant change in financial circumstances. An existing will is revoked (cancelled) by marriage or a civil partnership, and will therefore need to be updated.
What Happens if a Person Dies Without a Will?
The individual will be held to have died ‘intestate’, and their estate will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy. The rules mean that the estate will be distributed to family members in a fixed order, which often will not reflect the wishes of the deceased, hence the importance of making a valid will.
How is Inheritance Tax Dealt With?
The Inheritance Tax threshold is currently £325,000, meaning estates valued below this ‘nil-rate band’ will not have to pay any tax. If an estate if left to a spouse or civil partner, regardless of the value, there will be no tax to pay. Otherwise, 40% Inheritance Tax will be due on the remainder of an estate valued above the threshold.
Who Can Witness a Will?
Two witnesses are required to make a will legally binding. To ensure impartiality, these should be independent persons who are not family members, their spouses or civil partners, or beneficiaries of your will. Witnesses are commonly friends, neighbours or work colleagues.
What Happens if I Have Property or Other Assets Abroad?
The inheritance laws in the country in which the assets are located will apply, and this will vary from country to country, so it may be necessary to make two separate wills (one in the UK and one abroad) to ensure the assets to the intended beneficiary. Inheritance Tax may also be different and significantly higher overseas.