Wills, Probate, Trusts and LPA’s
Death is an inevitable fact of life that comes to us all at some point in time, and it is important that people consider very carefully what provisions they would want in respect their death. It is important for a variety of reasons that people consider making wills and review them regularly.
LPA or Lasting Power of Attorney is a provision that a person gives to a trusted member of his/her friends or family to make important decisions on their behalf, in respect of their health & Welfare, or Property and Finance, at a time when they do not have capacity to make decisions for themselves.
Probate is the steps taken at the time or after death, which deals with the assets of the deceased, under the terms of their will. If a person has not made a Will, then it falls to the Intestacy act to determine how the deceased’s assets are distributed, and can be complicated and time consuming to resolve.
A Will sets out in a document that is legally binding how you want your estate to be distributed after your death. Unless you lacked capacity at the time of making the Will, or had been unduly influenced or pressured into making the Will, it will be legally binding.
If you do not make a Will, then your estate may not go to those who you wish to benefit, as the distribution is determined by the Intestacy Act.
This is always a difficult situation particularly where the surviving partner, is financial dependent on the deceased. Under those circumstances an application can be made under the Inheritance Provisions (family and dependence) Act, for some of the estate to be made payable to the surviving party.
This is always a very difficult time, with so many arrangements to make. Once the funeral has been arranged it is necessary to obtain a Grant of Probate (administration of estate) from the Probate Office so that you have the legal ability to distribute the deceased assets under the terms of any Will. It is important to note, that many financial institutions will not release monies until probate has been obtained.
It is also important to ensure that any inheritance tax is correctly calculated and paid when dealing with the estate.
The current exemption (Nil Rate Band) is £325,000. If the total estate is under that amount Inheritance Tax is not required to be paid. However, Inheritance Tax is due on any sums above this threshold. Under certain circumstances the unused Nil Rate Band, of a previously deceased partner can be carried forward and used on the second death. You will need to speak to your solicitor to take advice about this.
If you have any further questions or require more information, please do not hesitate to contact us.