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Wills, Trusts, Probate

Have you ever considered what would happen after your death?

HEY Solicitors will help you to ensure your wishes are carried out after your death.


What is Probate?

A Grant of Probate is an official legal document that gives the executors of the Will the right to deal with the assets and property of the deceased. You will often need to apply for Probate if the person who died had:

  • A bank, building society or National Savings account with more than a few thousand pounds in it
  • A medium or large shareholding
  • Property or land.

If there is no Will then a grant may still be necessary but it is called a Grant of Letters of Administration.


What is an Executor?

The executors are the people who are appointed to deal with an estate and make sure that the deceased’s wishes are carried out. This can often be more than one person. Executors can also be beneficiaries of the Will and their duties will usually include

  • Arranging the funeral
  • Taking charge of the house and possessions of the person who has died.
  • Applying for Probate
  • If there is Inheritance Tax to pay reporting the value of the estate to the Capital Taxes Office.
  • Appointing a Solicitor to deal with some or all of the above.

Failure to correctly carry out the legal duties and procedures required can lead to an executor being personally liable to the estate. An executor can relieve himself/herself from personal liability by instructing a Solicitor to formally handle the deceased’s affairs. Alternatively partners in a firm of Solicitors can be appointed to act as executors.


Is Probate always needed?

In some cases you do not need to apply for Probate, such as when:-

  • The person who has died left very little
  • Everything they owned was in joint names with someone to whom their share passes automatically (husband, wife or civil partner)


Will I have to pay any Inheritance Tax?

Whether or not you as the executor have to pay Inheritance Tax out of the estate depends on:

  • How much the property and belongings of the deceased were worth when they died.
  • The value of any trust from which the deceased may have benefited.
  • The value of certain gifts the deceased made in the 7 years before they died (or longer if they “reserved an interest” e.g. they gave away a property but continued to live in it).

If all of the above add up to a certain amount (called the “nil rate band”) the estate has to pay Inheritance Tax of 40% on the sum of money above this amount. The amount is reviewed every year and as at April 2016 it was £325,000.00.

Since 2007 if your husband, wife or civil partner died first, your estate can carry forward any unused portion of their nil rate band and add it to your own nil rate band. This usually means that for most married couples or civil partners the first £650,000.00 of their combined estate is exempt when the last one dies.

There is no Inheritance Tax payable on assets left by married couples or civil partners to each other regardless of value. In such cases Inheritance Tax only becomes payable on the death of the survivor in respect of assets that exceed the “nil rate band”.


Why is it important to make a Will?


For Example you can:-

  • Protect your minor children by appointing guardians
  • Determine who will receive your money and other assets
  • Say who should receive personal possessions
  • Set out your funeral wishes

FINANCIAL ADVANTAGES - It will make the administration of your estate smoother and may reduce the legal fees.

APPOINTMENT OF EXECUTORS - Ensure that your estate is dealt with in a proper manner by appointing people you trust to deal with the administration of your estate.


What happens if I do not make a Will?

It depends upon your circumstances. Your Estate will be dealt with under legislation referred to as the “Intestacy Rules” which determine who can legally administer your estate and who gets your money and other assets. These rules may not reflect your wishes.

For Example:-

  • Many people think that if they are married or in a civil partnership and do not make a Will that everything would automatically go to their husband/wife or civil partner. In fact, this is not always the case.
  • If you are living as a couple but are not married and are not civil partners then you may be treated as a single person and your surviving partner may receive nothing.
  • If you have no immediate family it is possible that your estate may simply pass to the Government and you would have no say in where your hard earned money or possessions will go.

When should I make a Will?


If you have already made a Will then we recommend it is reviewed every 5 years or if your financial/family circumstances change OR because your wishes change.


For further information contact:

Head Office – 01353 662 918


The firm can claim a history extending back some 200 years...


01353 662 918


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Ely, Cambs

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