Making sure your wishes are followed and undertaking probate
Why should you make a will?
Some people assume that if they die without a will their estate will automatically pass to their spouse or civil partner. This is not necessarily so; if you die without a will the Administration of Estates Act 1925 sets out who will benefit from your estate and in what proportions. If you die intestate (that is, without a will) leaving a spouse and children and your estate (other than your personal possessions) is worth more than £250,000, then it will not automatically all pass to your spouse, even if that is your wish.
A will can offer you the security that your estate will be shared amongst those whom you wish to receive it.
A will can also deal with the appointment of guardians for minor children, gifts to individuals and charities and any funeral wishes you might have.
There are other good reasons to make a will, including:
- If you are not married to your partner or in a formal civil partnership, you can make provisions for your partner in your will. If you died without a will, your partner might get nothing.
- If you have remarried, your spouse may not be the only person you wish to benefit from your estate.
- A will can make provision for the unthinkable, such as an accident in which you and your immediate family died together.
If you have been appointed to act as an executor under a will or if you wish to administer a relative’s estate, our team can help you. We understand this will be a very difficult time, and we will offer clear advice in a sympathetic manner, whilst taking care of the legal formalities.
During these times, we like to make life as stress-free as we can for our clients, and we believe that offering a fixed fee for our probate work eases the worry of an unexpected legal bill. These fees do not include third party costs, for example a £40 court fee, but these will be explained in your initial meeting with us. The charges also do not apply if the estate has a foreign asset, if beneficiaries need to be traced, or if the will is contested. These fees are charged by our specialist solicitors and you will be dealing directly with them.
We regulalrly undertake litigation in the following areas: -
- Challenges regarding validity of wills, including testamentary capacity claims
- Challenges over the validity of lifetime gifts and other transactions
- Claims regarding maladministration of estates, including removal of personal representatives
- Claims against trustees, such as breach of trust claims where the trustee has failed to distribute trust property to the correct persons, for example
- Claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975