• We have offices in Sussex and Middlesex and are therefore able to offer face to face meetings for the whole of the London and South East region.
    • In addition, we have processes in place to assist clients remotely e.g. via Zoom and are therefore able to effectively operate throughout all of England and Wales.
    • We have been able to assist our clients effectively throughout this period whilst observing all of the necessary protocols.  Face to face meetings were replaced by teleconferences or Zoom meetings and we have been able to assist with execution of documents while maintaining the required social distancing e.g. signing Wills in clients gardens.  We will continue to monitor and update how we operate in line with all government recommendations.
    • A written document confirming a person’s wishes as to the disposal of their assets on death
    • For more information Click here to download our “Wills and Wills Choices Guide” 
    • A Will can be amended either by adding a Codicil which is an addendum to a Will and read in conjunction with the Will or by making a replacement Will.  A Codicil would follow the same attestation process as a Will i.e. the testator should sign the Codicil in presence of two witnesses

There are many reasons you should make a Will and it is clearly a very personal choice. Potential reasons include:

    • Make your funeral preferences known;
    • Peace of mind that your affairs are in order;
    • Select the individuals you want to deal with your estate;
    • Make sure those in need are taken care of e.g. appointing guardians for minors;
    • Specific gifts of possessions;
    • Orderly devolution of your assets;
    • Deal with pets
    • Deal with digital assets – Facebook accounts/on line music accounts etc;
    • Appropriate IHT planning

By writing a Will you will be making things easier for those you leave behind.

    • Will Instructions and all its Estate Planning Professionals are members of the Society of Will Writers;
    • We provide expert advice to ensure adherence to legal requirements and that the Will is therefore valid;
    • Help identify who might be appropriate executor(s);
    • Identify potential challenges to the validity of your Will and mitigate the risks e.g.
      • does an elderly person understand what they doing?
      • what if English is not the first language?
      • excluding a relative?
    • Discuss and implement restrictions on age of minors inherit at 18 / 21 / 25;
    • Advise on how to deal with overseas assets;
    • To structure / describe gifts effectively i.e. specific amounts versus percentages;
    • Ensure Will achieves what you want it to; and
    • Ensure correct execution of the Will.
    • when you have an unmarried partner who you would like to inherit from your estate;
    • when you get married, and your old Will is invalidated;
    • when you have a child so that you can appoint a guardian and make provision;
    • when you want to make provisions for stepchildren, foster children or dependents;
    • when you buy a property or receive a large windfall; 
    • if your spouse passes away, and your previous Will left the estate to them;
    • if you get divorced, as your previous Will won’t automatically be invalidated – although gifts to ex-partners will.
    • Your estate will be distributed in line with the rules of Intestacy as follows:

The Society of Will Writers is a non-profit making self-regulatory organisation which seeks to protect the public and serve the interests of those men and women who are active professionals in its field. 

The Society of Will Writers was founded in 1994 and has since grown to become not only the largest, but also the leading self-regulatory body governing Will Writers and Estate Planners alike. We have over 1,600 members across the UK, Europe and further afield in places such as Asia and Africa.

The Society has set itself two main tasks:

    • To promote to the public at large the real need and sense in having a valid Will;
    • To act as a self-regulatory body by vetting practitioners through stringent membership requirements, proficiency standards and ongoing training.

Further details can be found on their website: https://www.willwriters.com

    • A document that legally enables one or more individuals you know and trust, ‘your Attorneys’, to have the Power to make decisions on your behalf if you lose mental capacity or simply if you wanted your Attorney to act on your behalf.  
    • Click here to see our “LPA Guide” for further information.
    • You choose your Attorneys and determine whether they can act individually or jointly;
    • LPAs give the ability to specify preferences as to how your Attorneys should act on your behalf;
    • LPAs can be registered in advance; a Deputyship can take 6 months or more for the CoP to process;
    • The Office of the Public Guardian (“OPG”) fee for registering both LPA’s is £164 (£82 each); the Court of Protection (CoP) charges a minimum of £385 for a Deputyship in the event you no longer have mental capacity; and
    • Replaced Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA) in 2007 (if filed before 1st Oct 2007 still valid) – LPAs are now more commonly known and understood than EPAs.
    • Property and Financial: dealing with paying your bills, collecting your income and benefits, or selling your house.
    • Health and Welfare:  dealing with where you live, day-today care, including your diet and what you wear; decide whether your Attorneys should be given the power to make Life Preserving decisions on your behalf.
    • Inheritance Tax is a tax on the estate (the property, money and possessions) of someone who’s died.
    • Nil Rate Band (NRB) – this allows for a proportion of the transfer (the first £325,000  – fixed until tax year 2019/2020 after which it may be increased) to be taxed at 0% – hence Nil Rate. The balance is charged at either the Death Rate (40%) or Lifetime Rate (20%) depending on the circumstances. Any unused allowance is transferrable to a surviving spouse or civil partner.Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB) – this applies from 6 April 2017 at £100,000 rising in annual increments of £25,000 until the maximum £175,000 in April 2020. The allowance will only apply to those persons who pass on their residence (or proceeds thereof) to direct descendents and is transferrable to a surviving spouse or civil partner. If the total estate exceeds £2 million the allowance is reduced by £1 for every £2 in excess.Taper Relief – provides a reduction in the amount of IHT payable where for instance a PET becomes chargeable following the death of the donor within 7 years. The amount of relief is calculated by the length of time between gift and death – currently full IHT is payable if death occurs within 3 years, 80% in year 4, 60% in year 5, 40% in year 6, and 20% in year 7. After 7 years of course no IHT is due. Care must be taken in this calculation since gifts within 7 years of death utilise the NRB first starting with the oldest gift and moving forward in time until the NRB is completely used up. If this were to happen there would be nothing left to relieve the IHT due on death.Quick Succession Relief (QSR) – applies where the same assets are taxed twice within a 5 year period for instance where a person dies leaving assets to another person who then dies within 5 years. The relief given is a reduction in the IHT payable on the second death calculated by reference to the time elapsed between the deaths. If the second death occurs within 1 year no IHT is payable on the inherited assets on the second death, in the second year 80% tax relief is due, in the third year 60%, in the fourth year 40%, and in the fifth year 20% with no relief available after 5 years.

      Loss Relief – this is available where assets are realised by Executors for administration purposes within 1 year of death and allows the lower sale price to replace Probate Value for IHT purposes.

    A. The transfer of assets by way of gift is divided into 3 categories :-

1. Exempt Transfers – these are gifts that are not liable to IHT as detailed below.

2. Potentially Exempt Transfers (PETs) – these are gifts where no IHT is due at the time of the gift but may become payable at some time in the future – for instance where the person making the gift (the donor) dies within 7 years. If this happens the PET becomes a Chargeable Transfer. If the donor survives 7 years from the date of the gift it becomes an Exempt Transfer.

3. Chargeable Transfers – these are gifts that are, or have become, liable to IHT and include transfer on death, transfers into and from Discretionary Trusts, and failed PETs following a donor’s death within 7 years

At present there are a number of exempt transfers which do not attract a liability to IHT and these may be varied in future Budgets :-

    • Small Gift Allowance – where the total sum given to an individual does not exceed £250 in any tax year. If the total for any individual in any tax year exceeds £250 then the total sum counts as part of the Annual Allowance.
    • Annual Allowance – where the sums given to all individuals in any tax year (other than those falling under the Small Gift Allowance) do not exceed a total of £3000. Once gifts made in any tax year exceed this figure they are regarded as being PETs and 7 years will need to elapse before they become Exempt Transfers. However if the Annual Allowance is not used in a tax year then it can be carried forward for one year only. For example if no gifts (other than small gifts) were made in tax year 2015/2016 then £6000 is available to be used as the Annual Allowance for 2016/2017.
    • Marriage Allowance – where gifts are made to a person when they marry there is a one-off additional allowance available the amount of which depends on how closely you are related. If you are a parent to one of the parties marrying the allowance is £5000, if a grandparent £2500, and if any other relation £1000. This does not count towards the Annual Allowance but to be valid must not be made after the marriage.
    • Spouse Relief – any gifts to a legally married spouse (or civil partner) on death or during lifetime are exempt regardless of amount.
    • Charity Relief – any gifts to a U.K. registered charity on death or during lifetime are exempt regardless of amount. This also applies to gifts to U.K. political parties.
    • Gifts out of Income – where it can be shown, to the satisfaction of the Capital Taxes Office, that gifts were made on a regular basis out of income and that this had no detrimental effect to the donor’s usual standard of living then these gifts will be treated as exempt regardless of the amount. The onus of satisfying the Capital Taxes Office will usually fall upon the Executors or Administrators on the death of the donor and each case is looked at individually so no figures can be provided as to what is acceptable and what is not. It is important that detailed records be kept to evidence a claim for this relief.
    • Agricultural & Business Property Relief – this gives either 50% or 100% relief on certain assets subject to certain conditions being met. This is a very specialised area which requires professional help.
    • A Pre-Paid Funeral Plan is a funeral that has been planned and paid for prior to death – in short, you are paying for your funeral at today’s prices and indicating your preferences for elements of the service. Click here to read more about Pre-Paid Funerals
    • According to the SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2018, there was once again a rise in the overall cost of dying. Over the year, the total cost has grown from £8,905 – to an all-time high of £9,204 (+3.4%). There a several elements of the funeral that make up this total cost and it is important to note that different Pre-Paid Funeral Plans will cover different elements but in general it is the “Cost of a basic funeral” that is included:
      • Cost of a basic funeral £4,271

      Fees for the cremation or burial itself, funeral director, doctor and minister or celebrant.

      • Average amount spent on the send-off £2,061

      Memorial, death and funeral notices, flowers, order sheets, extra limousines, venue and catering for the wake

      • Average amount spent on professional fees £2,872

      Hiring a professional to administer the estate

      • Total Cost of Dying £9,204

      The increase in the average cost of a funeral has played a key role in this jump. For the 15th year in a row, we’ve seen a price rise: it now stands at £4,271 – which marks a 4.7% jump since 2017. This adds up to a 122% increase since we first started tracking funeral pricing back in 2004.