Wills, Probate and Powers of Attorney
The Trethowans Private Client team is one of the largest in the south of England and includes lawyers recognised as key specialists in their field. The range of expertise and attention to technical detail ensures that a Trethowans client’s wealth is used for that client’s advantage and in line with their personal wishes.
The Team specialises in succession planning for wealthy entrepreneurs, private business owners, farmers, UK domiciled and non-domiciled, and ensures maximum tax mitigation during lifetime and after death. This can involve a range of work such as complex trusts, wills and lifetime gifts, but always with as much time as the client needs to ensure that all aspects are covered in the advice we give.
The elderly and the vulnerable are empathetically looked after by experts who will guide them and their families through the maze of personal and financial concerns at a turning point in their lives, such as accommodation, benefits and care packages; the client’s comfort and security coupled with the delivery of efficient service are always the priorities.
Those who have foreign property to consider, whether as residents or non residents, are looked after by experts with knowledge and experience of many jurisdictions across the globe.
People who encounter the Trethowans Private Client team indirectly, such as beneficiaries, are given all the information they need, to maximise the value of their legacy by taking the right steps to save Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax.
A point is made of fostering good working relations with financial institutions, financial advisers, stockbrokers, care agencies, charities’ legacy officers and indeed all contacts to ensure that Trethowans’ clients’ interests are best served and their matters progressed with all due speed and efficiency.
Expertise, efficiency, empathy and above all a personal service bespoke for each individual client.
In advising on and preparing wills the Private Client team takes care to explore with clients all of their circumstances, both personal and financial, in order to produce the will most suited to their situation and requirements. The will itself is the product of meetings, careful thought, advice and drafting. Our wills service covers a range of areas including:
- Wills for single individuals and for married couples or civil partners
- Wills for second and subsequent marriages and civil partnerships
- Wills to cater for disabled beneficiaries
- Inheritance tax planning within the framework of a will
- Foreign property issues
- Wills containing trusts
- Urgent wills to be made when the end of life is near
- Wills for members of the Armed Forces
- Statutory wills for people who are not able to make a will themselves
Our clients often comment on how we make the process far less daunting than they expected. We frequently receive referrals from financial advisers, confident in the service we provide, for their wealthy clients who need expert legal advice and drafting.
We are the chosen firm for many age related and disability related charities due to our specialist experience in the area of wills catering for people with special needs.
Members of our large team are ready to attend urgently at the hospitals and hospices close to our offices in order to help those nearing the end of their lives and we are on hand to guide the family through this traumatic phase.
Trethowans is a member of the Certainty National Register of Wills and our services includes complimentary registration on this growing database for all clients making wills with us. Wills are safely stored in our strong rooms and we carefully archive our will-making clients’ personal testamentary documents, so that we can draw on the important information whenever the client wishes to update their will.
We pride ourselves on the bespoke service we provide. We will listen to our clients’ wishes and before producing the draft will we ensure that all relevant circumstances are advised upon. We consider these face to face meetings, wherever possible, to be crucial and our clients receive as much personal attention as necessary right up to the signing of the final document.
Probate and Administration of Estates
The Trethowans Private Client team is proud to be recognised as amongst the most experienced and proficient in the field of probate and estate administration. It operates within its own rigorous protocol, ensuring an efficient, cost-effective and comprehensive service across the following areas:
- Obtaining grants of probate or letters of administration where there is no will
- Advising executors on their duties and the risks they must consider
- Undertaking detailed or, if required, limited administration of estates from start to finish
- Negotiating with the Inland Revenue on inheritance tax issues and securing all possible tax savings
- Undertaking all necessary work to mitigate capital gains tax for the estate and for individual beneficiaries
- Working with all beneficiaries including charities and their legacy officers to ensure the availability of all relevant information throughout the estate administration process and their involvement in decision-making when appropriate
- Dealing with post-death variations of wills in order to save beneficiaries inheritance tax at a later date or to reduce the tax payable by the estate
- Dealing with all practicalities when required from registration of the death to funeral arrangements, property clearance, obtaining valuations, re-housing of pets, personal arrangements for those for whom the deceased was carer, supporting and guiding executors and families and dealing with all issues connected with the deceased’s property from insurers to utility providers
The service we provide is not only efficient but personal. We will help and support with all manner of issues needing attention at the difficult time immediately after death has occurred and right through the estate administration process.
Our aim is not only to ensure that the legal work and practical elements are undertaken to the highest possible standard but in doing so also to help the bereaved come to terms with their loss. Beyond that we give all necessary guidance to the recently widowed so that they can embark on the new phase of their life with confidence and the knowledge of support.
“May I thank you for your considerable assistance to my mother in her role as Executor for my aunt’s estate. I know my mother has much appreciated your kind and efficient approach to the estate administration and to earlier matters relating to my aunt”.
(An excerpt from a letter to Trethowans in January 2018, typical of the comments we often receive).
Lasting Powers of Attorney
A lasting power of attorney is a document which allows you to appoint one or more individuals to deal with your affairs in the event that you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself.
There are two types of lasting power of attorney; one that deals with your property and affairs and one that deals with your health and welfare.
Why do I need a lasting power of attorney?
Have you made arrangements for someone to help you with your affairs as you get older? Have you made provisions for someone else to act on your behalf in the event that you are no longer in a position to deal with your affairs yourself?
A property and affairs lasting power of attorney is the only way to ensure that you retain control of matters, as it means that you decide who will act for you and do the best for you, rather than leaving it to the court to decide who will make decisions about you and your finances.
A health and welfare lasting power of attorney is a separate document that can allow you to appoint someone who you trust to make decisions on your behalf about your medical care and physical well-being when you are no longer able to speak up for yourself.
Lasting powers of attorney can only be prepared whilst you are well enough to understand the documents and therefore need to be thought about carefully long before they are actually needed.
If an application has to be made to the court to sort matters out because you have become unwell and you do not have either document in place it could potentially lead to an outcome that you would be unhappy with if you were aware of what was going on.
It may be that you never need it at all, so in some ways it is like an insurance policy, but is gambling on your future a risk that you would want to take?
When do I need to put a lasting power of attorney in place?
The sooner you put a lasting power of attorney in place, the better.
The documents can only be made when you still have the mental capacity to do so therefore you should consider taking the action to prepare the document long before you will actually need it; it is not possible to create a lasting power of attorney after you have lost your mental capacity.
If an individual becomes unable to handle their own affairs and does not have an enduring power of attorney or a lasting power of attorney in place, it is possible for the individual’s family to make an application to the Court of Protection. The Court will then appoint a deputy to manage their property and financial affairs.