Are you currently in, or about to start, the process of drafting your will? If so, you’re probably worried about the legal fees involved in hiring a solicitor. It is likely you’re more concerned about the financial side of things, and less so about getting the most accurate draft of your will. At Legal Cost Finance, we don’t believe this is right. No one should have to worry more about their legal fees than drafting their will, because making sure you are properly represented is the least you deserve.

That is why we offer a range of convenient payment plans designed to give people like you access to a quality legal loan. Start with a Legal Cost Finance payment plan today, or for more information, contact our team of experts on 020 3376 1888.

Which legal loan is right for you?

If you are looking to draft a will but don’t have the funds to pay for a solicitor, then you might want to consider our LawPlan Classic payment solution. With it, you can get a legal loan that comes complete with a cost-neutral repayment solution. It allows you to get the legal representation you deserve, without having to pay large sums up front to a lawyer. The convenient plan also comes with a cost-neutral repayment option, which could allow you to pay back the first 12 months of the loan effectively interest free. How can we offer this? Well we know that most lawyers will discount their fees to offset the interest rate.

Alternatively, you might have the assets to afford your legal fees but would rather not pay large sums up front. In which case, you could consider LawPlan Prime. With this plan, you won’t have to worry about paying straight from your pocket to lawyers before any work is done. This is particularly useful when you haven’t worked with a lawyer before; LawPlan Prime gives you a safety net of sorts.

Should I draft a will?

If you’ve already decided to draft a will, the idea that some people over the age of 55 still haven’t thought about writing one might seem a little strange. Unfortunately, individuals dying without a will it is an all too common occurrence in the UK. In fact nearly two thirds of the British adult population do not have a will, according to a recent YouGov survey. Thousands of families could potentially be left dealing with the hardships of bereavement without the financial support and protection a will guarantees.

If for some reason you haven’t thought about drafting a will, consider some of the following consequences:

1. Legal costs for your beneficiaries

Your passing without a will could lead your partner or your dependents having to fund a lawyer to challenge the laws of intestacy, which can be a serious financial burden. Such intestacy cases can become extremely complicated and drain the money, time and emotional energy of those closest to you.

2. Family disputes

Few things should cause as much personal distress as the idea of a family feuding over your assets when you pass. It is a tragically regular occurrence across the UK however, with each year throwing up new examples of a family torn apart. You only need to look at some of the more famous of us who died without a will; Jimi Hendrix’s estate was fought over for 30 years!

3. Suffering children

Most parents consider the wellbeing of their children to be their primary concern. Which makes the amount of parents without a will all the more surprising, because not having one can leave your children isolated and without financial support. Not only this, but they could be left without a clearly defined legal guardian, a situation that children of single parents could well find themselves in. Would you want the courts deciding who your children live with? Imagine the stress of your children not knowing who they are going to grow up with; no reasonable parent would want this on their conscious so why wouldn’t you draft a will?

4. Your partner could lose the estate

As is more and more common these days, many partners aren’t married and so don’t have the same level of protection of couples who are. Without a will, your partner could be left without the rights to remain in your property, with the possibility that the property will be left in the hands of the state.

5. The beneficiaries in your will could pay significant tax

We’d all like the bulk of our estate to make it to our loved ones with as little taxation as possible, but those who fail to make a will are often at the mercy

Why should I get a legal loan to draft a will?

Drafting a will is, of course, a deeply personal experience. That doesn’t mean you don’t need expert legal advice in the process however. In fact, hiring a quality wills and probate solicitor can save a lot of hassle for those you leave behind. It is is important to work with a solicitor if you have assets overseas, such as a holiday home. Perhaps you own a business and you expect it to be an aspect of your estate; again a solicitor can be of real help here. Other reasons for hiring a solicitor include:

  • If something goes wrong, you’ll be protected – In the unlikely event you run into problems, you can register a complaint with the solicitor’s firm. If they choose not to deal with your complaint adequately, then you can raise the issue with the Legal Ombudsman.
  • Your will is secure – Using a solicitor to draft your will means they’ll store (or should store) the original in a secure place, usually a fireproof safe.
  • The complex aspects are covered for you – Inheritance Tax and trusts is complicated. Solicitors experiences in the field of wills and probate can help you make the most effective choices and ensure your will is watertight.
  • You can be confident mistakes won’t be made – Simple issues like forgetting to have you will signed, or using an incorrect witness, can mean your will is invalidated when you die. Solicitors an greatly reduce the risk of this happening.

The downside is that solicitors are generally the most expensive way to draft a will, but, the quality service they provide more than outweighs the negatives of the cost. With a Legal Cost Finance legal loan backing you up, you can stop worrying about the legal fees entirely and rest safe in the knowledge that your will is the best representation of your intentions. A legal loan from us means you can get the legal insight you require, giving you the breathing room to focus on getting a will your family deserves.

Wills

Deciding what happens to your possessions, shares, financial assets and property investments, can be a daunting process, but you don’t have to make these life changing decisions alone. Many choose to discuss their estate with a trusted legal advisor, who has a wealth of experience in managing wills and probate cases. When drafting a will, you, the testator, must have a witness’s’ signature to make the document legally binding. In writing, you must also identify dependable individuals as executors who will handle your estate affairs, and attach a list of beneficiaries who have access to your assets. Many individuals may keep a copy of their will with a trusted solicitor, bank, will storage service or with the Probate Department.

Seeking legal advice to help draft a will can help individuals avoid missing pages, incorrect names, incomplete signatures and no witnesses that could lead to a will being declared invalid by the Probate Registry. If your will is invalid, the same rules apply as if you had no will at all. In these cases, Intestacy Rules will determine how your property is divided and may result in key beneficiaries not getting the financial support they need.

If you have already made a will but want to make amendments, you need to add what is called a ‘codicil’ to the existing will. However, if you are considering making major changes to your will such as; divorce and remarriage; amending gifts or changing beneficiaries and executors, it’s advisable to make a completely new will.

Let us know if we can assist you with obtaining the right legal advice in the most affordable and convenient way.  Call us 020 3376 1888.

Grounds for Contesting a Will

Losing a loved one is difficult and it can be made even tougher when there is a family dispute over the will. Under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, you have legitimate reasons to contest a will if:

  • The validity of the will is in question
  • The witness’ signature isn’t correct
  • The will is believed to be fraudulent
  • The testator was mentally incapacitated or did not understand what they were signing
  • The contents of the will did not reflect a promise made in person
  • The testator was under undue pressure to sign the will
  • Adequate provision was not given for financial dependents
  • If there is a dispute over intestacy

Family members may be able to halt the next step in the will process by submitting a caveat to the Probate Registry. This stops the issue of a grant representation for 6 months, if you want to make enquiries, or seek Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and mediation to come to an agreement on the will.

Wills and probate solicitors can help you provide for your family’s future in case of a bereavement. If you’re unsure on how to draft your will, our team of legal specialists have extensive experience in preparing wills to cover all circumstances. In some cases, there may be unforeseen legal costs involved, which can put added strain on you and your family. Don’t worry, we’re here to help. We can also offer cost-effective payment plans to help you pay your legal costs affordably and conveniently. Speak with one of our experienced wills and probate lawyers today on 020 3376 1888.

Trusts and Estate management

We understand that you want to prepare for any eventuality to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of. Trusts can help you manage your property and assets, should the unexpected happen. In these circumstances, you can appoint a trusted family member, legal professional or bank as your trustee, to oversee your estate and ensure that your beneficiaries receive what is entitled to them.

Typically, a trust has two types of beneficiaries, one that receives income from the trust during their lives, and another that receives whatever estate is left after the first beneficiaries passes away. One of the main reasons individuals create trusts is because it avoids probate, which can save a substantial amount of time, legal fees and paperwork. Trusts can also remain private and will not become part of the public record.

You should consider making a trust if you:

  • Want added protection for your capital and assets
  • Co-own a house
  • Wish to create lifetime gifts or financial security for young relatives
  • Want to minimise your Inheritance Tax (IHT)
  • Have a severe medical condition and want to make special provisions for the future

If you want to have complete control over your assets, estate planning is essential. With the value of property and estates continuing to rise, more people are opening trust funds to secure their savings. Make sure your family are supported financially throughout your life and theirs, by getting in touch with an estate management solicitor. Sorting out your affairs can be a costly process, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Working nationwide, our team of legal specialists offer practical advice and cost-effective payment solutions to suit your individual case. Call us today for more information on 020 3376 1888 or start your payment plan now.

Lasting Power of Attorney

Prepare for the unexpected by making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). This document allows someone you trust to make decisions about your healthcare and personal welfare, or your property and financial affairs if you are not in the position to do so. Writing an LPA can give you peace of mind that your estate and family are protected in case of any unforeseen accidents or illnesses. You can choose who you would like to act on your behalf and how you want them to handle your affairs.

Individuals can apply for two different types of LPAs, a property and financial affairs LPA, or a health and welfare LPA. Property and financial LPAs lets your Attorney make decisions on buying and selling your property, closing building society accounts, buying and selling shares and claiming pensions and state allowances. With health and welfare LPA’s Attorneys can consent or refuse medical treatment, choose your living arrangements and act on behalf of your best interests when it comes to your overall care.

This is not something many wish to think about, but it can help protect your estate, your care and your family should the unexpected happen. Make sure you are prepared for every eventuality life brings by securing your assets and family’s future. For compassionate advice on writing a Lasting Power of Attorney for you or your loved one, speak to one of our wills and probate solicitors who are experienced in handling LPA cases. Please feel free to call today for trusted advice and support on 020 3376 1888.

Inheritance Tax Planning

The current Inheritance Tax threshold is £325,000 per person, and £650,000 for a married couple. If your estate falls above this limit, then you are liable to pay 40% Inheritance Tax.

However, discussing your estate with an inheritance tax planning expert, can help you minimise tax burdens for the next generation. The amount of Inheritance Tax you will have to pay, is dependent on your business interests and other assets, but there are exemptions to this. We appreciate that you don’t want your family to pay 40% Inheritance tax on any assets above the current inheritance tax threshold, and we’re here to help. By drafting wills, setting up trusts, establishing Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA), and getting the right advice, you can significantly reduce your inheritance tax.

If you’re considering Inheritance tax planning, you must do one or more of the following:

  • Pass assets on to family members and close friends
  • Make lifetime gifts to a partner or young person
  • Transfer assets into trust funds
  • Claim business and agricultural property relief
  • Taking out life insurance cover
  • Restructure the ownership of your business
  • Make charitable donations

In some cases, if you give part of your estate away your beneficiary may be subject to income tax and capital gains tax. Establishing the amount of inheritance you can give, and what your family is entitled to can be a complex process, so it’s essential to discuss your estate with an experienced solicitor. Contact a member of our legal team now, before you make any decisions, for confidential inheritance tax advice and affordable payment solutions to help you get started. Protect your family today. Call us on 020 3376 1888.

Probate

A ‘probate’ or ‘grant of representation’ is the legal process of receiving the court’s permission to manage a person’s estate. If you have been appointed as the designated executor to a will, you’re responsible for managing the probate. This can include, collecting assets, paying off debts and distributing the assets to the beneficiaries. In some circumstances, individuals can appoint professional executors, such as wills and probate solicitors or legal will writers, who will be paid from the proceeds of the estate. If there is no named executor mentioned in the will, or there is no will, the next of kin needs to apply for “Letters of Administration” to become the administrator.

Before applying for either grant, you are expected to liaise with solicitors in providing information and relevant documentation for the Probate Registry in order to distribute the estate. A proper evaluation of the estate is needed and contact should be made with banks, insurance companies and building societies, to collect accurate information on assets, stocks and shares.

After tax deductions, you need to fill out an inheritance tax return form and send it to the HM Revenue and Customs. If the person’s estate value exceeds £325,000 or £650,000 for a married couple, the tax return could be higher. Once the tax return is paid and filled, the next step is to apply to the Probate Registry for a “Grant of Probate” or “Letters of Administration.

Once these documents have been granted and obtained, the executors and administrators can present this to the banks to release the person’s assets. Executors and administrators will be expected to finalise income tax affairs, estate accounts and pensions. They will be solely responsible for collecting and selling assets, in accordance with the individual’s wishes or statutory order. Executors and administers will also be in charge of paying money and gifts due to beneficiaries.

If you’ve been asked to be an executor or administrator and need legal advice on your loved one’s estate, contact our panel of expert will and probate solicitors today. We understand that this can be a daunting task and we’re here to guide you through this difficult time. We can provide you with confidential support and cost-effective payment plans to manage your legal costs affordably and conveniently. We can also help you collect the necessary documents to effectively manage your loved one’s estate. Don’t hesitate to call us on 020 3376 1888 or start your payment plan now.

Intestacy

It isn’t uncommon for people to think that their property and possessions will automatically go to their loved one if the unexpected should happen, but this is not always the case. In situations where there is no valid will, Intestacy Rules set out in the statute will apply, and an administrator will be chosen to manage and distribute the estate. ‘Partial intestacy’ may also apply when the will doesn’t specify what happens to the whole of their estate. The rules of intestacy make no provision for unmarried or unregistered partners, which can mean that the surviving partner may not inherit any of the estate. However, in these cases, a partner can make an inheritance claim to ensure they are supported financially.

A family member may need to fill out a probate application form to receive ‘Letters of Administration’ from the Probate Registry. This letter allows the administrator to have access to the estate. It is important for everyone close to the deceased to agree on who should apply for Letters of Administration, to avoid family disputes further down the line. In some cases, the family may wish to hire professionals with a legal background in intestacy cases to be the administrator.

Inheritance Claims

The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 protects surviving dependants who have been left without sufficient financial support. If an intestacy fails to make a ‘reasonable financial provision’ then the family can apply for an inheritance claim. If you want to make a claim you must:

  • Apply within six months of receiving the Letters of Administration
  • Be the legal spouse/ civil partner
  • Have proof of a former marriage or civil partnership
  • Be one of the children (blood or adopted)
  • Be one of the parents
  • Be a sibling
  • Be cohabiting with the deceased for a period of at least two years

Under the Inheritance Act, the court will take into consideration the applicant’s status, needs and resources to see if they are currently below the reasonable financial provision. If the applicant is successful, the court will arrange:

  • A lump sum order
  • A maintenance order for regular payments
  • A sale of property order or transfer of assets
  • A trust fund for the applicant that redistributes property

Dealing with someone else’s estate can be a complicated process, especially if you are the administrator, or a family member in disputes over inheritance claims. If you’re finding yourself in this situation, don’t panic. The next step you should take is to contact you a legal representative who has dealt with intestacy cases at the earliest opportunity. When administering an estate, you can face a lot of hidden costs, that can add up overtime. We can offer you affordable payment plans to help you manage your costs affordably and conveniently through this time of bereavement. Call our specialists today to find out more on 020 3376 1888.

We all want to make sure that our loved ones are looked after when we pass away, but thousands of people die every year without a properly drafted will.  When it comes to making sure your assets get distributed to those you wish, writing a will and establishing careful estate management are essential. Instructing the right lawyer to guide you through all matters surrounding your probate case can take a lot of the stress and strain away.

If you are considering creating a trust during your lifetime, this can also help you manage your finances in the present to protect any young children or vulnerable relatives in your family.

Inheritance tax can have a large impact even on modest estates.  A well drafted will can effectively reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax, and thereby, increase the amount you can leave to care for your loved ones.

Thinking ahead and seeking advice from specialist lawyers ensures that the right plans are put in place to avoid your loved ones having to cope with additional financial stress at a time of bereavement.

You may also want to seek specialist legal advice if you feel that your interests have not been fairly represented in a will and you wish to contest it in court. While some lawyers are prepared to work on a ‘no win no fee’ basis, you may wish to consider simply paying your lawyer by affordable instalments over time, and keeping 100% of the money you are awarded by a court.

If your loved one has passed away and has not left a will, your legal process could involve negotiation, litigation or alternative dispute resolution, which can be costly. We will provide you with a payment plan to cover your legal costs, so you or your business can get the legal support you require, without the need for large payments upfront.  Contact one of our lawyers who specialise in wills, probate and trusts today. If you already have appointed a lawyer, we can still offer you an affordable payment plan and can make all the necessary arrangements with your lawyer on your behalf. Call us now on 020 3376 1888.

Payment plans help reduce the strain of legal process

We provide payment plans to cover your legal costs, so you or your business can get the legal support you require – without the need for large up front payments.

Your legal process can involve negotiation, litigation or alternative dispute resolution (such as arbitration or mediation).

We will connect you with a lawyer who specialises in wills, probate and trusts and who is right for your individual circumstances.  If you have already appointed a lawyer, we can still offer you a payment plan solution and will make all the necessary arrangements with your lawyer on your behalf.

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