Property, shares, and money in the bank. The chances are you have worked hard to accumulate your financial assets throughout your lifetime, and will want to pass on what is left over once you are gone. Our skill is in helping protect the value of your assets and safeguarding your family’s financial future.
Wills, Trusts & Estates
- Margaret Grundy
Wills and trusts are two the main mechanisms for protecting assets for distribution later on. Our team of lawyers prepare these every day for clients who rely on us for clear advice on managing and ring-fencing the things they own.
- Wills – We offer expert advice to those who wish to ensure their wealth is passed on in accordance with their wishes. Our team of Wills and Probate solicitors assist clients with planning and drafting their Will, ensuring all aspects relating to how they wish to pass on their property are covered. Without a valid Will, you risk your property being distributed according to the Rules of Intestacy, which may be completely at odds with your wishes. Our solicitors offer practical legal advice, ensuring your final wishes are accurately recorded, your assets safeguarded, and your interests protected.
- Trusts – A trust is an arrangement whereby an individual (a trustee) holds an asset (property, shares, cash), for the benefit of someone else (the beneficiary). A trust can be made to take effect during your lifetime via the creation of a trust deed, or, by incorporating a trust into your Will, it can be set up to come into effect following your death. Regardless of which type of trust you wish to create, we can assist you in its creation. Trust law can be complex; however, our team has an in-depth understanding of how trusts are made and administered and can advise you and the trustees throughout the lifetime of the trust.
- Estate and inheritance tax planning – As property prices rise, more people are leaving behind estates which are subject to inheritance tax. Henriques Griffiths’ solicitors can assist you with tax planning, ensuring you understand and take advantage of the nil-rate bands and preserve as much of your wealth as possible so it can be passed down to the next generation. At present, everyone is entitled to pass on £325,000 tax-free. If your Will leaves your entire estate to your spouse or civil partner, they can combine their tax-free allowance with yours, meaning they can pass on up to £650,000 intact. The government has now introduced a main residence nil-rate band, which allows for a £125,000 (from April 2018) tax-free allowance if your main residence is passed down to your direct descendants. Our solicitors can help you navigate these complex tax-free allowances and ensure your assets and best interests are protected for future generations.
- Court of Protection and elderly client issues – If a person loses the mental capacity to make decisions regarding their finances, health or welfare, relatives or friends can apply to the Court of Protection for Deputyship. As a Deputy, a person will have the authority to make ongoing decisions on behalf of someone who lacks mental capacity. Applications for Deputyship can be made as emergency applications in certain circumstances, for example when someone's life or welfare is at risk, and a decision has to be made without delay. We can assist you with making an application for Deputyship to the Court of Protection. Our team deals with elderly client matters in a sensitive, respectful manner, always involving the person whom any deputyship order will affect as much as possible. We also provide in-depth advice to deputies regarding their duties and responsibilities.
- Mental incapacity and Powers of Attorney – It can be difficult to imagine not having full mental capacity to make decisions for yourself. However, whether it be due to old age, illness or a tragic accident, many people lose the ability to run their day to day lives and have to rely on others to manage their affairs. A Lasting Power of Attorney allows you to choose a trusted person to help you manage your finances and/or health and welfare within limits set out by you at a time when you had full mental capacity. Our team can assist with drawing up a Lasting Power of Attorney and provide advice to the attorneys you choose on their duties and responsibilities. We are dedicated to our clients’ safety and will ensure that no pressure is put on you when drafting a Lasting Power of Attorney, and any decisions you make are made freely and in your best interests.
- Administration of estate – When someone you love dies, it is a distressing time. If you are named the executor of the deceased’s Will, you have additional responsibilities on top of dealing with your grief. Our sensitive, caring solicitors have years of experience in administering estates and applying for Probate. We will manage the process for you in a straight-forward, practical manner so you can concentrate on your family. Obtaining Probate can take time, but we will guide and support you throughout the process, giving you full confidence you are executing your duties correctly.
- Disputed Wills – As the value of estates rise, so does the chances of contentious matters emerging from a deceased’s Will. At Henriques Griffiths, we understand what an enormous emotional decision it is to decide to challenge the last wishes of a loved one. We can advise and represent you throughout the process, challenging the validity of a Will if you believe it was not executed correctly or created with undue influence. In addition, we advise beneficiaries of an estate who wish to challenge the way the administration is being handled, for example, if the administrator is making decisions which exceed his or her powers. Our team is highly experienced in alternative dispute resolution; we look to resolve disputes through methods such as negotiation and mediation rather than formal litigation, thereby reducing cost and stress. However, if formal court proceedings prove inevitable, we work alongside some of the countries top barristers to ensure our clients get the results they want.
To find out more about our Wills, trusts and estates services, please call us on 0117 9094000.