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Writing a will is something you should do at any time, however, the Coronavirus outbreak has served to concentrate minds with regards to this important issue.
Approximately 70% of us die intestate, that is, without a will. Even if you have a will, it is important to update it after a major life event such as buying a home, getting married or getting divorced.
Having an up to date will gives you peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out and your loved ones will be looked after financially. If you die intestate, in many cases your property will not necessarily pass to the people you would have chosen. Your next of kin under the rules of intestacy
will inherit, just because they are nearest to you, even though they may not be your “dearest”.
● A will allows you to decide on how you leave your property on death rather than having this determined by the intestacy rules.
● A will is a flexible instrument, which permits the person making it to make more varied and complex provision than is offered under the intestacy rules.
● You may select your own Executors and Trustees.
● You can incorporate additional powers for your Executors and Trustees
which will facilitate the administration of your estate.
● You may appoint a Guardian for your minor children.
● There may be tax advantages resulting from a carefully drafted will where tax planning through wills is considered in conjunction with wider lifetime tax and financial planning.
● If you are at all concerned about the terms of your current will or the fact that you do not have a will or lasting power of attorney in place, please do get in touch and we can talk you through the next steps.
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA)
Lasting powers of attorney are legal documents registered with the Court of Protection enabling you to appoint representatives to act on your behalf. These documents ensure that decision making rests with those you trust if you are no longer able to make important decisions yourself. By making a lasting power of attorney, you are able to appoint nominated persons to act on your behalf, should the need arise. You may limit the power to suit your particular circumstances.
There are two different types of lasting power of attorney. One covers property and financial decisions (property and finance) and the other covers decisions about your well being (health and welfare). You are able to make just one or both and you can always make another if needed. Lasting powers of attorney and wills are more often that not regarded as one of life’s administration tasks which can often come at the bottom of the list of those things that we need to do. The current pandemic has brought the need to prioritise this task into “sharp focus”.
We have seen an increase in the number of people getting in contact to write a will or update an existing will.
During the Coronavirus outbreak, there are difficulties to overcome as this area of law is one which usually relies upon face to face meetings between legal advisors and clients. It is also important to have the will legally witnessed.
This may not be easy if you are self-isolating or observing social distancing rules. Wills must be signed by two independent witnesses who are not your beneficiaries or the spouses of your beneficiaries.
Given most of us are restricted to contact with those in our household, this can create some difficulty.
Sussex Law are committed to doing whatever we can to help you in this difficult time.
Our solution has been to take instructions from clients over the telephone or by Skype and then, to act as your witnesses, at your door or through your window observing social distancing measures at all times.
Further precautions include using your own pen, wearing gloves, and conducting the process quickly and washing hands and sanitising.
If you are concerned to get your affairs in order but you are unable or worried about leaving your home, we will do our utmost to help.
Reasons For Making a Will
Please contact our private client manager Sally Taylor or Linda Tomsett if you wish to discuss your Will or LPA’s and find out how we can help you.
Have peace of mind • Protect your assets
Please contact our helpful and friendly
team for more information on 01273 561312
Single Basic Will: £200+ VAT
Joint Basic Will: £350+ VAT
Living Will: £200+ VAT
Trust Wills: starting at £400+ VAT
LASTING POWERS OF ATTORNEY
For a single person
Health & welfare only: £275+ VAT
Property & Financial Affairs only: £275+ VAT
Both Types of LPA: £500+ VAT
The task of administering the Estate of a loved one can seem insurmountable, especially at a time when you may still be coming to terms with your loss. The procedures can be quite complex and there are a number of duties and responsibilities of an Executor you should be aware of.
If you have been appointed as an Executor we can provide assistance with as much or as little of the administration of the Estate as you feel you may require.
If you have acted as an Executor before you may be familiar with the Probate process and simply require assistance in completing the relevant tax returns to be submitted to Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs. Alternatively, you may be able to provide us with the majority of information in connection with the assets and simply require us to obtain the Grant of Probate on your behalf. We can also deal with the administration of an Estate from start to finish if you so wish.
Our charges will be discussed from the outset and if the Estate is not complex we can sometimes agree a fixed fee. We also offer a fixed fee if you only require assistance in obtaining the Grant.
Please contact our Probate Manager, Sally Taylor, if you wish to discuss the administration of an Estate and find out how we can help you.
What is Probate?
The validation of the Will by the Probate Registry confirms the appointment of Executors. The Probate Registry keeps the original Will and issues a sealed copy attached to the Grant of Probate (often called “the Probate”). It is this document which proves the rights of the Executors to deal with the deceased’s estate.
Our rate card for conveyancing, wills, probate and LPA’s is available on request.
Our rates are also available to view in these blog pages under the heading of interest you can use our search box to the right of the page.
The conveyancing rate card below is displayed as a general guide as each matter differs in complexity. Sussex Law are proud to be an accredited member of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS), the most important benchmark of quality for residential conveyancing.
|RATE CARD CONVEYANCING||2020/2021|
|PRICE RANGE||£0 – £250000||£250000-£500000||£500000-£1M||£1M PLUS|
|HTB ISA’S ADD £250 + VAT|
Please call us on 01273 561312 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For conveyancing quotes ask for Jane Cole
For wills, probate or LPA’s please ask for Sally Taylor or Linda Tomsett
Who should make a Will?
If you want to make sure your wishes are followed on your death, you should make a Will. If you die without one, the rules of intestacy will decide; who looks after your children, who inherits your assets, and who administers your estate. This may mean (more…)
COVID-19 WILLS UPDATE
Just because of the restrictions bought about by Covid-19, it does not mean it is now too late to draw up a Will.
In order to protect our clients and staff we are now conducting our Will appointments by telephone or via skype, rather than undertaking a face to face meeting.
Once you have approved your Will, we will arrange for the finalised copy to be delivered to your door and we will witness you signing your Will on your doorstep. This will ensure we can observe “social distancing” This is for your safety and the safety of our staff.
Do not let Covid-19 restrict you from having a Will. It is probably more important now than ever.
Please call to speak to either Sally or Linda today to discuss further on 01273 561312 or email email@example.com
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
Lasting Powers of Attorney, are legal documents registered with the Court of Protection enabling you to appoint representatives to act on your behalf. (more…)
The NHS and Public Health England (PHE) are extremely well prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases. The NHS has put in place measures to ensure the safety of all patients and NHS staff while also ensuring services are available to the public as normal. (more…)
A person’s Will may be the single most important legal document they ever prepare. But, they will not be alive to see it come into effect.
A Will deals with what someone owns, who is to get it, wishes for funeral arrangements, requests in relation to guardianship of any minor children, and the people trusted to bring that all into effect. The importance of the document really can’t be overstated, but statistics show that many people are in the dark about the important function a Will performs, or do not wish to face up to their own mortality by contemplating their death.
Recent research by Royal London and Macmillan Cancer Support has found that:
• As many as 54% of adults do not have a Will;
• 1.5 million people who did have a Will in place may have accidentally voided it by getting married since making that Will; and
• 5.4 million adults have no idea how to go about making their Will.
Making a Will is not the end of the story however. A Will is only of use if the original can be located after the Will maker has died. Sadly, finding the original Will is not always easy.
Most clients are advised by their solicitors to leave the original Will with the firm, and to let their family and executors know where the original is held. In that way, the firm can keep the document securely and ensure that it is only released to the correct executors after the Will maker’s death. The firm is also then able to advise the executors on the process of administration. The difficulty with this arrangement is that the firm may move, merge or close making it difficult to track down the Will years later (although the Solicitors Regulation Authority should be able to help to identify what has happened to a firm).
Not all clients choose to leave their original Will with solicitors though – sometimes preferring to keep the original at home, or with their bank. These arrangements can be risky as people often misplace the document, accidentally throw it away, or change banks without claiming the documents held. This can make administration of the deceased’s estate much more complicated, as the executors will have to try to locate the original document. If it cannot be found, this might leave open questions about whether it was intentionally destroyed or simply lost – and if the latter, then the executors may have to try to admit a draft or reconstructed copy to the Probate Registry for approval. These applications can involve a lot of additional cost and time delays which could otherwise have been avoided.
Recent headlines about the great Aretha Franklin’s estate have shown how easily documents can be lost. Ms Franklin had been involved in litigation in her later years, and apparently the relationship with her legal advisers had broken down. Possibly as a result of this poor relationship, Ms Franklin chose to prepare handwritten documents herself instead of a final single professionally drafted Will. When she died, her family and solicitors found three different documents. Two of the documents were found locked away in a safe at Ms Franklin’s home, with a further document hidden in the home under a pile of cushions. The documents themselves are now likely to be subject to scrutiny in order to determine whether they are valid Wills, but at least being able to find them at all means Ms Franklin’s last wishes can be known and considered.
The simplest method to make sure a Will is secure is to leave it with the solicitor who prepared it, and to notify family and executors where it is. It may be worth providing a photocopy to the executors directly. Registration of the Will using Certainty the National Will Register is also a great idea to ensure the will can be found. Certainty the National Will Register is the Law Society of England Wales endorsed provider of a National Will Register where Will makers record that they have made a Will, and where the original Will is located. Family and executors can request a search of the National Will Register and easily find the document. The costs of such a search would ordinarily be treated as an estate expense, and so paid from the estate funds rather than by the executors personally.
Preparing a Will is an important step in the estate planning process. Registering the document and notifying the relevant parties is the best way to ensure that the effort of preparing the Will is not wasted.
Coping with loss
A guide for executors
Registering the death
If the death is not referred to a coroner, you need to make an appointment with the Registrar of Births and Deaths within 5 days.
The Registrar will give you:
- A certificate for a burial or cremation (known as the green form), which you give to the funeral director.
- A certificate of registration of death, form BD8. Which you may need to show to the Department for Works and Pensions.
- A death certificate. It is a good idea to ask for extra copies, each asset holder will require sight of this. There will be a minimal charge for each copy.