Wills, power of attorney and trusts
Taking care of your will, discussing power of attorney, or putting your assets into trust can save your family a good deal of stress during a difficult time and will make sure your final wishes are known. No matter how big or small your assets may be, it’s a wise move to get them protected. Afterall – life is full of unexpected twists and turns.
We have the experience and expertise to ensure your assets are well protected, and our services are always delivered in a professional, sympathetic manner. We’re also a member of SOPS (Solicitors for Older People Scotland) which is a group of Scottish law firms dedicated to providing legal services to older people in a caring and sensitive way.
Sort out your will
Having a properly drawn up and regularly updated will, provides peace of mind and can avoid unnecessary future legal expense. This relatively inexpensive exercise means your assets will pass to those you wish to benefit on your death and reduces the risk of your property (or your estate) passing on to others. If you’re moving house, this is the perfect time to take care of your will.
Drawing up a will involves naming the people (beneficiaries) who you would like to inherit your property. It needs to be a formal legal document and be correctly signed by appropriate parties. This avoids it being declared invalid, in which case your property and assets may not go to the people you intended.
Having a properly drawn up will can help to avoid certain pitfalls, such as:
- Legal rights – spouses or children can make claims on an estate and a properly worded will is required
- Intestate succession – if you leave no will, the law will decide what will happen to your estate and will involve extra avoidable expense
- Non-married couples – your partner may get nothing from your estate if you have no will, no matter how long you have been living together
- Inheritance tax – inheritance tax may be liable to be paid on the value of even a modest house, but having a will can help minimise this
- Home-made wills – it is not normally sensible to try and draw up a will yourself. If anything is unclear the consequences can be disastrous
Set up your power of attorney
A power of attorney is a formal legal document in which you allow someone else to manage your affairs on your behalf. Once in place it will give you and your family peace of mind and can help prevent stressful situations from developing. It avoids difficult decisions being made, such as who will access your bank account, pay your family’s bills, decide where you should live, run your business or indeed manage any other legal or financial affairs for you. In particular it avoids the need for family members to apply to court under a guardianship application which can be a lengthy and stressful process.
A power of attorney could be used to cover periods when you may be abroad for a significant amount of time or it could be used in later life when, either through physical or mental illness, it can become more difficult to manage your own affairs yourself.
Most of us should think about putting a Power of Attorney in place. Let us use our knowledge and experience to advise on the most appropriate option for you.
Executry is the process of dealing with a deceased’s estate, whether or not there is a will. The executor is the person or persons who are legally empowered to administer and deal with the assets of the deceased. The executor is usually responsible for pulling together information about items owned by the deceased which are used to prepare an inventory of the estate. This usually has to be approved by the court. Forms need to be completed to address any tax that is due and, once everything is approved by the Court, confirmation will be granted in favour of the executor. This means the estate can then be wound up. It can be a complex process and it is usually much better to have the help and guidance of an experienced solicitor.
We can deal with all aspects of the winding up of the deceased’s estate and ensure successful distribution of the assets, including mitigation of Inheritance Tax.
Take care of your trusts
A trust allows assets to be held by one group of people – the trustees – on behalf of another group of people – the beneficiaries. For example, trusts are often used when the beneficiaries are children so that money or property can be managed for them until they become adults. Trusts may also be used to mitigate Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax.
Usually, a formal written document known as a trust deed is prepared. This will detail what the purpose of the trust is, what is to be done with the trust assets and when the beneficiaries are to receive them.
We can take care of the creation of trusts and also handle their administration. We make planning for the future simple, so talk to us today.
Advanced Medical Directives (Living Wills)
These are directions discussed and agreed with your doctor which set out your wishes on the type of medical treatment you would like to receive in certain difficult circumstances.
We can help you prepare these to give piece of mind.