Even in the most straightforward estates, a will ensures that estate administration runs quickly and smoothly. There are some circumstances in which proper estate planning is essential to ensure that those you care about will be provided for as intended.

Without a valid will, legislation governs who inherits your estate. The rules governing the distribution of an estate in the absence of a valid will are known as the Intestacy Rules. Distribution of an estate under the Intestacy Rules may not benefit those you wish to provide for. Additionally, the administration of your estate may not be carried out in the most tax-efficient way.

Once you have written your will, you should review it every 5 years to make sure it reflects your wishes. You should also review your will after any major changes in your life, including:

  • Getting separated or divorced
  • Getting married (this cancels any will which you have made before)
  • Having a child or other relatives you wish to benefit, for example nieces, nephews or grandchildren
  • Moving house
  • If one of the executors named in the will dies.

You should also review your will when there are substantial changes to tax law which may affect your estate.

Our private client solicitors are able to advise and assist with the preparation of wills which are suitable for complex and straightforward estates.

Our experience

  • Preparing a list of assets and advising in respect of particular rules and laws relevant to their disposal
  • Drafting of wills and codicils
  • Updating wills in line with current legislation
  • Advising on the validity of a will
  • Advising on domicile and the effect of domicile on the administration of an estate
  • Appointing executors and trustees and advising on the duties and obligations of personal representatives to the estate
  • The effect of charitable gifts on the administration of an estate including the tax consequences of charitable gifts.
  • Wills trusts
  • Jointly owned property and the law of survivorship
  • Inheritance tax (IHT)
    • The Nil Rate Band
    • The transferable Nil Rate Band
    • The main residence Nil Rate Band
    • Nil Rate Band Discretionary Trusts
  • Reliefs and exemptions from IHT
    • The Spouse exemption
    • Business property relief
    • Agricultural property relief