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WILLS

A Will is a legal document by which you can determine what happens to your property, money and personal possessions after you die.

Making a Will is your opportunity to state what you want to happen to your estate after you die. By making a Will, you are reducing the complications and the heartache in trying to organise your estate that your family and friends might be faced with after you die.

In your Will you can decide who you want to be in charge of administering your estate so you have the people you think are best suited to the job involved.

Most importantly, having a Will means that the people you want to benefit from your estate will benefit.

There is also an opportunity to think about Inheritance Tax planning within your Will, by making provisions in your Will that can be tax efficient.

  • Executors: You can decide who you wish to organise your estate after you die.
  • Guardians: For many people with young families, the ability to state who you would want to look after your children and make immediate decisions in their lives, if both parents have died, is one of the most important elements of their Will.
  • Small gifts including personal items: You can leave lump sums of money or specific personal items to friends and family who have been close to you.
  • Charitable bequests: In your Will you can remember your favourite charity by leaving them a gift. Charities depend on legacies and some of them would not exist without these gifts. In addition there are Inheritance Tax planning advantages of leaving gifts to charity in your Will.
  • Specific needs: Perhaps you own a business or property abroad, or you have children from a previous relationship or vulnerable beneficiaries to consider. In such circumstances, specific advice will be needed to ensure the best drafting of your Will to meet your individual circumstances.
  • Funeral wishes: You can record wishes for your funeral in your Will so there is no doubt after you die about how your funeral should be conducted.
  • Who you wish to benefit: Finally, you can specify in your Will who you would like to receive the remainder of your estate in whatever proportions you choose.

If you do not make a Will there may be unexpected results.

If you die without having made a valid Will your personal possessions, property and money will be distributed to your nearest family according to the Intestacy Rules. In many circumstances this means your estate will not go to the people you would choose to benefit.

There is a misconception that a ‘common law’ husband or wife would be recognised and would benefit under your Will. However, this is not the case as under the Intestacy Rules a surviving unmarried partner would have no right to receive an inheritance from their deceased partner’s estate. In such circumstances a claim could be made under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975 but such a claim would be costly and take time to resolve.

In addition, although the Intestacy Rules, which were introduced in 1925, were updated in 2014, married couples still do not necessarily inherit all their spouse’s assets.

Our fee for a single, simple Will starts at £250 plus VAT (£350 plus VAT for a couple preparing mirror Wills) and we will give a further estimate if your needs are more complex. Please contact us to make a mutually convenient appointment to discuss your requirements.

Click to download McCarthy Webb Wills Brochure

PROBATE

If you require assistance with Probate then we, as a firm, know how distressing this time can be and we wish to ensure that matters are dealt with as sympathetically and efficiently as possible, with minimum stress to you at such a difficult time.

We can offer you an initial free consultation, subject to your instructing this firm to act on your behalf, during which we will discuss the specific aspects of the particular estate that you are involved in. Our charges for this consultation of up to half an hour will be deducted from our ongoing fees. At the end of this consultation, we will provide you with an estimate for our fees which will depend on the individual circumstances of the estate such as:

  • Whether there is a valid Will
  • Whether there is more than one property
  • How many bank accounts there are
  • What other assets are held in the estate
  • How many beneficiaries there are
  • Whether there are likely to be any disputes over the estate or any claims made against the estate
  • Whether a full inheritance tax account will need to be submitted to HMRC

Our fees are charged on an hourly basis of £240 plus VAT. The number of hours involved in dealing with an estate will depend upon the complexity of that particular estate, however usually it may take:

  • From 3 hours if we are preparing an application for a Grant of Representation and you have provided us with the values as at the date of death – therefore from £720 plus VAT
  • Up to 50 hours if we obtain all the date of death valuations, prepare the application for a Grant, collect assets in and pay liabilities after receiving the Grant and eventually distribute the estate to a number of beneficiaries – therefore up to possibly £12,000 plus VAT.

If the estate is complex, then we would discuss this at the time of taking your instructions as the costs could be in excess of the estimated times above.

In addition to our fees, the following disbursements are likely to become due during the estate’s administration:

  • Probate application fee of £155 plus 50p for each copy of the Grant. The fee for a copy of the Grant will increase from 22 July 2019 to £1.50 for each copy. The Government is also proposing to increase the application fee to a charge dependent on the value of the estate and the information on this page will be updated when the legislation is approved.
  • A fee of £5 plus £2 for each exhibit to swear any oath or affidavit required (per executor)
  • Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£2 per beneficiary)
  • Between £150 and £200 cost to publish a notice to creditors in the London Gazette and the Local newspaper to protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

The work involved would include, if we are to deal with the full administration:

  • Obtain details of all accounts, insurances and financial investments held and contact the relevant parties on your behalf
  • Once all information is to hand, attend to any inheritance tax matters and apply for Grant of Probate to the Probate Registry
  • Collect in the assets of the estate and account to the beneficiaries in accordance with the Will in place, or as appropriate the Rules of Intestacy (if there is no Will)
  • Prepare and provide to you estate accounts and confirmation as to the distribution of the estate

It is not possible to be exact on the timing of dealing with the administration of an estate, however as a rule of thumb for full administration of an estate, this could be between 4 to 18 months (which includes the potential sale of a property), which would involve:

  • Obtaining grant of probate between 8-12 weeks
  • Collecting assets following receipt of Grant of Probate between 4-6 weeks but will take longer if there is a property to sell as mentioned above
  • Distribution of the assets which normally takes 2-3 weeks from collection

The above is on the basis that it is an uncontested Probate.

LASTING POWERS OF ATTORNEY

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document by which you can appoint another person or persons to make decisions on your behalf.

There are two types of LPA:

  • Property and Financial Affairs LPAs: under which you can appoint Attorneys to make decisions on your behalf about a wide range of financial matters including buying or selling property, dealing with investments, dealing with tax affairs, operating bank accounts and claiming benefits. An Attorney appointed under a Property and Financial Affairs LPA is restricted from making a new Will for you and in the gifts they may make on your behalf.
  • Health and Personal Welfare LPAs: under which you can appoint Attorneys to make decisions about your living accommodation and care, your medical treatment (including life sustaining treatment) and basic daily decisions such as how you dress or what you eat.

You are able to restrict and/or offer guidance to your Attorneys in your LPA documents.

Your Attorney can be a close family member, friend or professional who you trust implicitly to act in your best interests.

You may appoint one or more Attorneys under either type of LPA. In addition you can also appoint a replacement Attorney or Attorneys to act in case your first choice Attorney is unable to act when needed.

Before either type of LPA can be used they need to be signed by you, your Attorney(s) and a third person known as a Certificate Provider.

A Certificate Provider can be either someone who has known you very well for at least two years or a professional person who can certify that you are able to make an LPA.

Both LPAs will need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before an Attorney can begin to act for you. This can either be done straight away or at a later date.

Under a Property & Financial Affairs LPA an attorney may act whenever you wish them to. However, an Attorney under a Health & Welfare LPA can only act when you have lost mental capacity to make decisions for yourself.

If you lose mental capacity and are no longer able to make decisions about financial affairs yourself it is usually necessary to make an application to the Court of Protection for somebody to be appointed as your “Deputy” to make decisions on your behalf. This may not be the person you would have chosen and such an application will be costly and time consuming.

Your Attorneys are only responsible for your affairs whilst you are alive. An LPA is no substitution for having a Will.

To prepare and register one Lasting Power of Attorney for one person will cost £450 plus VAT (£550 plus VAT for a couple) or for both types of LPA £550 plus VAT (£800 plus VAT for a couple, ie four documents in total). We can also assist in registering previously prepared Enduring and Lasting Powers of Attorney.

Please contact us to make a mutually convenient appointment to discuss your requirements.

Click to download McCarthy Webb LPA Brochure

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to discuss the above further or have any queries.

info@mccarthywebb.co.uk

McCarthy Webb
Wish Mews
21 Wish Road
Eastbourne
East Sussex
BN21 4NX

Tel: 01323 400530
Fax: 01323 733493

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