Wills and Probate

Dealing with an estate following someone's death can be complex. If a well drafted Will exists, then the legal process is much more straightforward for your loved ones, and avoids any potential conflict or further pressure during an already difficult time. Spencers Solicitors can help with the entire Wills and probate process, right from writing a Will that is robust enough to withstand any Will dispute to arranging the valuation and distribution of an estate’s assets.

Our legal experts can write a simple Will for you costing as little as £100 + VAT.

ENQUIRE ONLINE   or call us on 08000 93 00 94 today for no obligation advice on making a Will.

A Simple Will

A Simple Will

Our specialists also work with families with more complex needs and regularly create tailored Wills for people with specific requirements around their business, family or property situation.

A Simple Mirror Will

A Simple Mirror Will

A 'Mirror Will' is where each partner agrees to distribute his or her estate (except for special gifts) to their surviving spouse/partner.

Lasting Power of Attorney

Lasting Power of Attorney

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document which enables someone you trust to deal with your affairs. These can be used if you are worried about managing your finances or other decisions in later life.

Probate and Estate Administration

Probate and Estate Administration

Whether your loved one has died with or without making a Will, we can provide expert advice and guide you through the process, ensuring that the estate is dealt with efficiently and that the wishes of your loved one are carried out.

Why is it so important to make a Will?

Without a Will you have no control over who will inherit your money and property. Inheritance laws can be complicated, and without a Will there may be a number of unintended consequences. For example:

  • Surviving spouses do not necessarily inherit all assets
  • If not married then your partner has no automatic right to inherit from your estate
  • Children from previous relationships may unintentionally be disinherited
  • In some instances lack of a Will can mean your house may have to be sold
  • As well as the assurance that all financial and inheritance decisions have been made, within a Will you can also name a guardian for your children and could even save on inheritance tax.

We ensure that you receive straight forward, friendly, and practical advice on how to effectively put a Will in place - with no confusing legal jargon. Drafting a Will can give you peace of mind by ensuring your family is provided for should the worst happen.

Other Types of Wills

Your personal situation may mean your requirements fall outside the scope of a Simple Will. For example it could be that you:

  • are in a second marriage or partnership with possible disagreement over the treatment of your children from a previous marriage(s)
  • have dependents or children that have disabilities and therefore specific instructions are required for their care
  • have a complex estate that includes businesses or property abroad
  • want to leave gifts or legacies to more than a few beneficiaries or not in equal shares
  • have children that you do not support
  • are appointing a guardian for your children, where trusts need to be arranged
  • want to disinherit a close family member

This is not an exhaustive list, and we recognise that individual families and estates can have very different requirements. A specialist member of our team is very happy to meet to discuss your particular needs and prepare a Will that fits your situation.

Wills and Probate FAQ

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about Wills and probate.

If you would like to take the active step of protecting your estate and ensuring an easier process for your loved ones, please contact our Wills and Probate department on 01246 266637.

A Grant of Probate is a certificate is issued in recognition that the Will is legal and valid. You don’t need to obtain Probate if the value of the estate is less than £5,000 cash. If the value of assets is greater than this, or the assets are held in the form of property, shares, pension, or business, you will need to obtain a Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration, in the situation of intestacy) from the court.

Financial institutions can set their own limits for requiring Probate, and you need to be a nominated Executor, or acting on behalf of them, to apply for it. Without a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration, you will not be able to administrate the estate.

Probate, the act of administering an estate, typically takes six to nine months. It can take longer if the estate is complicated or if a beneficiary or potential beneficiary contests the will.

The Executor is responsible for ensuring all the tax returns submitted are correct, and that all creditors receive payments. Executors can be personally liable if they do not take any action required to protect the value of assets or if they do not pay all of the estate’s bills correctly and on time.

It is possible to challenge the way an executor is managing the estate or how they interpret the instructions in the Will. You can also make a claim against an executor if you believe they have been fraudulent in the statement of accounts, for example, if they have not reported or undervalued certain assets, or if you suspect they are charging the estate excessive fees for personal gain.

An executor must follow the instructions in the Will. It is not for them to decide whether the distribution of assets is unfair and should be altered, or to make moral judgements. They can use their discretion if there are not specific instructions about when or how assets can be sold, but they need to be careful not to be negligent in protecting the value of them.

There are times when instructions in a will are vague or contradictory. An executor can use their judgement though they should be very careful about providing evidence to support their decision in case their actions are contested by a beneficiary. We always recommend people have a Will professionally drawn up to avoid any ambiguity in their wishes, and contact us if they are an Executor who faces a situation where the Will's instructions are unclear.

A Will does not need to be prepared by a solicitor for it to be legally binding. However, DIY wills are often less robust and more easily challenged as people without a legal background are not always aware of the necessary requirements.

You do not need a lawyer to help you administer an estate, but many people choose to as the executor can be personally held liable for any errors. Also, managing an estate can be time-consuming and it can be difficult to fit responsibilities into working hours.

How can we help?

Why Choose Spencers Solicitors?

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