Louise Greer Solicitor Law Society Quality Scheme member Helping you make the right move

Wills, Probate, Inheritance & Estate Planning

Most people approach this area of the law with some trepidation and are uncomfortable with the matters that have, by necessity, to be addressed. We understand this and will do our utmost to help you through what can be an uncomfortable and stressful time.

Making a Will

For a detailed description of what's involved in making a will take a look here and to help you prepare for making a will please use our comprehensive questionnaire.

Download and print our useful aide-mémoire to help your Executor(s)

I am an Executor, what do I have to do ?

If you have been named as an Executor in someone's will and are unsure of your duties then we are here to help. You do not have to use a solicitor to obtain probate but very often the process can become quite onerous just when you may be understandably least able to apply yourself to the task. Obtaining probate can be complex, depending on the deceased's estate and what, if any, planning has been undertaken prior to death. If sufficient preparation has been made then obtaining probate may be relatively simple and can be obtained swiftly. Whatever the situation is, please contact us for advice.

Someone close to me has died without leaving a Will, what do I have to do ?

When someone dies without leaving a Will this is described as being "Intestate". Intestacy is the condition of the estate of a person who dies owning property greater than the sum of their enforceable debts and funeral expenses without having made a valid will or other binding declaration; alternatively where such a will or declaration has been made, but only applies to part of the estate, the remaining estate forms the "Intestate Estate".

Please call us for advice and we will do our utmost to assist.

In the usual family situation one or more close relatives of the deceased may take on the role of the Administrator - this is very similar to being a named Executor in a Will as above however the method of their appointment varies and they derive their powers not from a will but from the Administration of Estates Act 1925 and the court that appoints them. Letters of administration are necessary in cases where there is no will and also in cases where no executor has been appointed under a will. The Non Contentious Probate Rules 1987 govern those who may apply for grants of letters of administration with will annexed or letters of administration.

An Administrator has no power until the issue of the grant of probate unlike an Executor of a will who derives his power directly from the will as soon as the testator dies.

A very useful link for Probate information is HM Courts and Tribunal Services.

Will your estate be liable for inheritance tax (IHT) ?

The answer to this question largely depends on the size of your estate.

The Chancellor changed the rules significantly (effective from 9th October 2007) making it possible for spouses and civil partners to transfer their nil-rate band allowances so that any part of the nil-rate band that was not used when the first spouse or civil partner died can be transferred to the individuals surviving spouse or civil partner for use on their death.

The transferable allowance is available to all survivors of a marriage or civil partnership who died on or after 9th October 2007, no matter when the first partner died.

Prior to these changes any unused nil-rate band allowance that was unused was lost on death. In effect, for most married couples or civil partnerships the IHT threshold is now practically doubled.

Despite the Chancellor's changes, inheritance tax planning may still be required and we are here to advise and help you.

This page is currently being updated. Please check back shortly or in the interim please contact us directly with any queries you may have.