R Banks & Son (Funerals) Ltd have a bespoke legal service to provide trusted advice in relation to estate administration after the loss of your loved one. We have brought on board a private legal practice McHale Baker who specialise in Estate Administration, Will Planning, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Long Term Care Advice and Court of Protection applications.
Handling a loved one’s affairs following a bereavement can feel overwhelming, and our legal specialists are here to provide you with advice and assistance on what to do following a death.
Providing a free consultation, our experts can offer you either an appointment in the comfort of your own home or in one of our branch offices, to provide guidance on the next steps
Estate administration assistance and advice
If you an Executor of the Will, or your loved one has passed away without having a Will in place, free consultation will provide you clear advice in a supportive and understanding manner in the following areas:
- Establish the next immediate steps that are required
- Assist you in obtaining the Will and interpreting the content
- If there is no Will, we will advise you on the current intestacy laws so that you can understand who has responsibility for administering the estate and who should benefit
- Help you determine if you need to apply to the Court for a Grant of Probate to deal with the Estate
Using professional legal services
If you feel that you would like our assistance in dealing with the Estate Administration our legal specialists will ensure that you receive the best possible service throughout the process, always ensuring that your individual needs are thoughtfully considered and professionally dealt with.
- The person that you meet with at your initial consultation will continue to be your dedicated point of contact throughout the process and will be available to you for advice and support as required
- The fee for services will be agreed with you up front.
- The fee will be reflective of the amount of work that is involved and not the value of estate, ensuring that the Estate does not suffer from the inflated costs that are often associated with high street solicitors
- Our legal specialists are members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners; STEP is the worldwide professional association for practitioners dealing with family inheritance and succession planning.
- With membership of the Institute of Professional Will-writers, you can be assured that our specialists are regulated by a recognised professional body covering England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
An overview of the process
We appreciate that at this difficult time it is not always possible to concentrate on the intricate details that are required throughout an Estate administration period, and your dedicated point of contact will personally see to all aspects of the estate administration that you wish to pass on to them, keeping you informed of progress throughout the process. This can consist of all or some of the following:
- Establishing the value of all assets and liabilities
- Liaising with all the beneficiaries regarding their legacy or residual entitlement
- Dealing with utility bills and home insurance
- Apply to and attend the Court on your behalf to obtain the Grant of Probate
- Attend to the returns to HMRC in relation to inheritance tax, capital gains tax and income tax
- Preparation of Estate Accounts
- Collect all assets, pay debts and distribute the Estate
Very often as a result of the death of a loved one, the family’s and other beneficiaries’ circumstances will have changed. Your consultant will work with you to ensure that you have carefully considered your own situation and will offer you further help and advice on your options.
Wills and Succession Planning
Making a Will is probably one of the most important legal documents that you can make yet so many people do not have one. Dying without a will means that the law will govern who your estate will pass to. In these circumstances, your spouse does not automatically inherit your estate and if you are not married your partner will not benefit at all.
To make sure that your wishes are carried out after your death and that your estate passes to your loved ones a will is essential. Our specialists have the expertise to advise you on all the issues that you need to consider, including inheritance tax, and can guide you through the process making it as simple for you as possible.
You may have been put off from doing a will because you think that your family structure is complicated. Our 10 years experience means that we have dealt with many family structures including second marriages, children from previous relationships & family members with children with special needs or health problems.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
Lasting Powers of Attorney are documents which are used during your life. They allow you to appoint someone that you trust as your attorney to look after your affairs in the event that you are not able to do so yourself.
There are 2 types:
Lasting Power of Attorney – Property & Financial Affairs:
- This one enables your attorney or attorneys to look after your financial affairs. They are able to run your bank accounts & investments & sell your property.
- It can be used in the event that you do not have the capacity to make the decisions yourself in which case your attorney makes the decision for you
- Or if you still have mental capacity but are physically unable to manage your affairs, then you continue to make your own decisions and your attorney simply carries out those instructions
Lasting Power of Attorney – Health & Welfare:
This one allows your attorney or attorneys to look after your health & welfare.
They are able to decide where you live, provide consent to medical treatment and even make decisions on life sustaining treatment.
Enduring Power of Attorney:
Enduring Powers of Attorney executed prior to October 2007 are still valid. They were replaced with the current Lasting Power of Attorney system. Should you have an Enduring Power of Attorney but are concerned about its validity we can advise you further.
Family Protection Trusts
Financial planning is nothing new for any of us, whether it be day to day balancing our income and expenditure or investing money with the view of achieving growth. In one way or another we all do it and we find that many of our clients in retirement age find that they have managed to do a good job of this either through their own determination or by using a financial adviser to help provide guidance and assistance.
As we reach our retirement years, very often our financial planning takes a new pathway and we start to consider more seriously how we can protect the capital, rather than concentrate purely on growth. The Family Protection Trust helps us to plan for our later years and to ensure that as much of our inheritance as possible passes onto our children.
The Family Protection Trust can assist in the following areas:
- Probate and Estate Administration Costs – when we die we will probably need a professional to deal with our Estate which can be an expensive, lengthy and time consuming process.If however, we put the majority of our assets into a Family Protection Trust, there should be no need to have a cumbersome estate administration procedure.
- Sideways Disinheritance - if a surviving spouse remarries without making a proper Will, our whole estate could end up passing to another family rather than our own.If we set up a Family Protection Trust and place the bulk of our assets into it, then our surviving spouse will have full use of this during their lifetime, however after they have passed away, those assets in the Trust will only pass to those that we have chosen.
- Dependent Relative Claims – if a relative comes forward and tries to claim on our estate, they will not succeed unless the claim is made within six years of placing the assets in the Family Protection Trust and the person claiming can show that avoiding the claim was a significant reason for placing assets in the Trust
- Children inheriting at the wrong time – unfortunately sometimes our children will have problems and inheriting at the wrong time can be disastrous. Whether it be a shaky marriage, addiction problems, financial problems or just having a vulnerable child, receiving a lump sum at a specific point in their lives can have a detrimental effect on our children. If your assets are in a Family Protection Trust at the time of your death, then the trustees can take a view on when would be the best time to distribute the assets.
- Inheritance Tax – whilst the Family Protection Trust on its own cannot assist us with our inheritance tax planning it is a very effective tool for helping with our children's inheritance tax planning, as those assets can be enjoyed without our children passing a 40% liability onto their children.
- Care Costs – currently 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men over the age of 65 go into care and the problem is forecast to worsen in the next generation of our 45 – 65 year olds. The Local Authority can take almost everything to pay for that care. The Family Protection Trust can help if you are concerned that your partner/spouse may have to go into long term care in the future. Early planning is always the best approach however even if it is left late the Trust may still be successful.
- Incapacity – if we lose our ability to deal with our affairs, then the best solution is a Lasting Power of Attorney. If however you do not have this in place, the assets within your Family Protection Trust can be managed by your trustees. The Family Protection Trust solves many different problems. The specialists in this area have been providing these Trusts successfully for the last 10 years and we have all the right experience and knowledge to ensure that this is an effective tool for our clients.