Providing legal services to the people and businesses of Brentwood since 1850

Estate and Tax Planning

It may be that we advise clients when making their Wills that the assets are such that the Estate would be liable to pay substantial Inheritance Tax on death as the law stands at present. Every time an individual’s personal situation changes (such as getting married, divorced, having children, moving house or inheriting a sum of money), the Will should be reconsidered and Estate and Tax Planning should be reviewed.

We can advise on a number of different ways of reducing potential Inheritance Tax liabilities through Lifetime Planning and the drafting of the Will. It is quite possible for such planning to reduce massively any potential Inheritance Tax Liability. Such Tax Planning is always a balance between funds which may be required for retirement and a client’s desire to reduce the potential tax burden.

The Administration of an Estate

We offer Probate and Estate Administration services to all clients, whether or not we have been involved in the creation of the Will. Probate and Estate Administration laws can be confusing and the process is often highly emotive. We are approachable and sensitive and we work efficiently to make the process as straightforward as possible for our clients.

Unless an Estate is very small, it is usually necessary for the Executors (or Administrator if there is no Will) to obtain a Grant of Representation/Probate. The Executors are the people appointed in the Will to deal with the administration of the Estate.

An Executor has three specific roles:

  1. To protect and preserve the estate;
  2. To apply for the Grant of Representation;
  3. To distribute the estate according to the terms of the Will or Intestacy.
  4. The first thing an Executor must do is register the death (if a close family member has not already dealt with this) and deal with the funeral arrangements. Once this has occurred it is often a good moment to meet with us to discuss the various further steps which need to be taken. These include the preparation of a list of assets and liabilities, together with statements and other documentation to support that list. If a Grant is required then it will be necessary to go into detail as to the assets and liabilities for the purposes of completion of an H.M. Revenue and Customs Form. It is necessary to have detailed and accurate information to complete the Form(s).

Once the H.M. Revenue and Customs Forms have been completed and any tax due has been paid, it will be possible to apply for the Grant. Such Grant is a Court sealed document which provides the personal representatives with the legal right to handle the assets of the Estate.

When the Grant has been issued, the personal representatives will be able to collect in the assets of the Estate, pay any outstanding liabilities and make the necessary distributions.

We can assist from start to finish in this process or act as consultants providing advice on a step-by-step basis.

For more information please contact Jessie Stewart| [email protected] | Tel: 01277 210021