Wills and LPA FAQs

Q. Can you make home visits?

A. We offer home visits for all our clients, typically the elderly. However, we charge an additional fee per visit for the extra time involved.

Q. How can I sign documents on behalf of someone who is infirm or ill?

A. Normally, the client would contact us to enquire how they would approach this situation. This is called a Lasting Power of Attorney where we accept this mental capacity act with given guidance from our client. The requests need to be pre-arranged with our client and then proceed with signing the documentation on behalf. We charge an additional fee for the work and time involved.

Q. What is probate?

A. Probate is about having the authorities to deal with a deceased person's affairs.

Q. Why is it important to make a will?

A. It will benefit the next to kin with your possession and estates. It is also ideal to plan ahead and know how your assets will be dealt with after your death. Importantly the client should appoint guardians to look after young children's after death.

It is also important to prepare a will to discuss how the assets should be shared, otherwise if you do not obtain a will, the law will decides who gets a share of what as opposed to following your wishes. Therefore, the law can decide to give less to your close ones than you have intended. If you are unmarried, you can be assured to provide for your partner. Or, if divorced you can leave assets for the former. You can also make sure that you do not pay additional Inheritance Tax than necessary.

Q. Preparing your will?

A. Using a solicitor to prepare a will, will help deal and follow through with the legal formalities in order to become valid, whilst it is still possible to make a will yourself. The solicitor can advise how the inheritance tax will affect you as well as other complicated matters.

Q. What to include in the will?

A. Solicitors can help advice you of what to include in the will. You could perhaps consider the following:

  • List out what and how much are the possessions, money and properties are currently held under your name?
  • Who will benefit from certain items you leave behind and wish to transfer to after you pass away.
  • Who will be responsible or the guardian for younger children under the age of 18 years of age.
  • If you have estates, whom will be the 'executor' – a person named in the will that will be responsible with passing on your estates and carrying out your wishes after you passes away. If unnamed, the courts of law will decide and appoint someone to be responsible.

Q. What to do if there is no will?

A. If there are no will, a relative or close one can register to deal with the estates in which they apply for a grant of letter of administration. This legal documentation confirms that the administrator once granted permission, has the authority to deal with the deceased person's assets.

Q. What is inheritance tax?

A. Inheritance Tax is due on many estates in the UK. However, in 2012-2013 the inheritance tax boundary was raised to £325,000 so most estates are now exempt from paying the tax. The value of the estate is the value of all property including stocks, shares, gifts and trust funds. For estates over £325,000 tax is payable at 40% on the amount over the threshold or 36% if there is a charitable donation made, making the estate a reduced estate.

Q. How Can I Increase My Inheritance Tax Threshold?

A. Married couples and civil partners are in a position where they can increase their Inheritance Tax threshold by combining their threshold. This works in that when one partner passes away they can transfer their unused tax threshold (the nil rate band) over to their partner. This can increase the total boundary for the remaining partner to £650,000. Whilst a spouse is living they can gift as many of their assets as they wish to their spouse without being charged any inheritance tax. This is known as 'spouse or civil partner exemption.' Therefore a partner can pass over all their assets to their spouse whilst they are living to completely prevent their 0% inheritance tax threshold being used.

The rate can only be transferred on the death of the second partner, this second death must have occurred on or after October 2007. The full nil rate band may not be transferrable if the first spouse died before 1975. Whenever the first spouse died this should not affect the ability to transfer some of the tax threshold.

To make the claim the executor of the Will of the second spouse must firstly work out the percentage of the threshold you can transfer. 100 per cent of the threshold can be transferred if the entire estate was left to the surviving spouse as none of the threshold will have been used. If the deceased made gifts to people during their lifetime, which were subject to inheritance tax, this will have to be taken away from the threshold before it being transferred. You will then need to get together the Will and all paperwork from the previous death, then fill in an IHT217 and an IHT205/C5 if the full threshold can be transferred or an IHT402 if less than 100 per cent of the threshold can be transferred.

Q. Who Is Responsible For Paying Inheritance Tax?

A. Inheritance tax is generally the responsibility of the executor of the Will and it must be paid within 6 months of the individual's passing.

Q. What is the Inheritance Tax threshold?

A. Most estates valued at less than the threshold of £325,000 in 2012-13 do not have to pay Inheritance Tax. If the estate amount if over the threshold a tax payment of 40% is applied. On the other hand, if the estate qualifies for a reduced rate based on the threshold and a result of charitable donations, then the tax payment of 36% is applied.

Q. Is there a deadline for paying Inheritance Tax?

A. Once the deceased passes away, the Inheritance Tax must be paid within six months. An interest will be charged on the amount outstanding after the six month periods.