Wills, lifetime planning, gifts and trusts

Frequent changes in laws concerning personal tax and inheritance, coupled with potential changes to personal health and decision-making ability, make it especially important to make appropriate plans in good time, and to review those plans as the law and your personal circumstances change.

If you are acting as an executor in the administration of an estate, please see our separate probate page.

Wills

While you can make a will for yourself, it will be a better one if you consult a qualified solicitor.

It may seem unnecessary, but there is value in the discussion, in fully understanding the implications of your decisions, and in ensuring you have done the best you can for those likely to survive you.

Our lives are often more complicated than we think, and ensuring the right outcome takes proper thought and planning.

It can be difficult for example, to predict how your financial affairs may need to take account of the cost of care for yourself or a spouse.

It is also important to properly understand the tax implications before making decisions about legacies to family members, or gifts to charity.

Our service is based on long and varied experience, and delivered with care and consideration.

Powers of attorney

There are different types of powers of attorney but each is designed to enable somebody else to help you either with your finances, with control of a business, or decisions about your health if you can no longer look after yourself.

Many people only make a lasting power of attorney when they are already frail, but we advise all our clients to consider what would happen if they suddenly lost the ability to make decisions themselves.

That is why we encourage clients to make powers of attorney as early as possible – and it is essential in the case of business owners.

In theory it’s a simple decision, but once you start to think about it, it often becomes more complex.

It really is worth considering the value of an experienced solicitor to steer you through the issues as well as to take care of the paperwork.

Gifts, trusts and tax

An ever-changing tax environment makes planning important, but equally important is regularly reviewing the plans you have already made.

There are many ways to achieve your objectives for passing on assets within the current tax regime, but expert advice is required to know the facts and make informed decisions.

You might want simply to know what to do about your current inheritance tax liability, or you may have given money to a child to buy a property but want to ensure the investment does not disappear in any future relationship breakdown the child may have.

Together we can talk through the issues with you confidentially and impartially and help advise you on documents such as declarations of trust that can protect the family’s money in such circumstances whilst allowing gifts to take place.

For straightforward legal advice for lifetime planning contact Lorna Bastian on 01245 673070 or lbastian@aquabridgelaw.co.uk