Wills, Administration of Estates and Enduring Powers of Attorney

Here at DMC we appreciate that it is difficult to think about making a will; that no –one wants to consider who will manage their affairs if they become physically or mentally incapable and that the loss of a loved one can be a deeply distressing and traumatic time.

Margarita Sloane has vast experience in wills administration of estates and enduring powers of attorney. Our clients continually praise her thorough and detailed work and tell us how much they appreciate her understanding and empathetic approach.

'Wills and Estates' Specialist

Contact Margarita on
02892 601421

'Wills and Estates' Specialist

Contact Lisa on
02892 601421

Wills

Here at Donaldson McConnell we’ve heard all the reasons why people haven’t made a will. A recent UK study confirmed that :-

  • 53% of the UK population have not made a will;
  • 51.6% of this number haven’t done so because they “haven’t got round to it”
  • 12.4% don’t think they need to as their immediate family will inherit anyway;
  • 12.3% don’t want to think about it and
  • 22% believe they have nothing of value to leave.

The remaining reasons were “I’m too young”, “I don’t want to think about dying” or “it’s too expensive”.

We don’t mean to be the bearer of bad news but one thing which is inevitable in life, is death. At DMC we will prepare a simple will for £100 (plus VAT) and a family will with provisions for children’s trusts for £150 (plus VAT). For the price of a night out or a weekend break you can ensure that you have done all you can to safeguard your loved one’s future.

We understand that few people want to contemplate their death but we believe that there are strong arguments why everyone should make a will:-

01.

Certainty and peace of mind

By making a will you can decide how your property, business, personal belongings and any other assets will be divided between your loved ones and can ensure that your final wishes will be observed. As well as protecting your family’s future you can also ensure that specific gifts are left to friends, charities and your church. Are you certain that you understand the legal implications of making a will sufficiently to prepare your own will or use an online ‘one size fits all service’? Wouldn’t you rather want to know that your final wishes will be followed exactly and without any risk, challenge or dispute?

02.

Avoid disputes

No-one would like to think that family members would disagree or even litigate over the terms of their will. If you do not make a will, or if your will is not properly prepared, then disagreements can occur as to how your estate should be distributed. Disputes over estates are often complex, drawn out, expensive and acrimonious. Would you really want to run the risk that family relationships could be irreparably damaged because you had not made a simple will?

03.

Preserve your estate

if you do not have a Will the government will decide who inherits your estate. This is known as Intestacy and there is no guarantee that the law will distribute your estate in the same way you may have envisaged. In particular, there will be no provision made for specific person gifts or charitable donations. Leaving aside the fact that it may be more expensive to administer an intestate estate, there is also a risk in some circumstances that the estate will automatically pass to the government if there is no valid Will in place.

Why take the chance that a loved one would not receive the gift you had intended to leave them?

04.

Save money and avoid tax

The government charge Inheritance Tax on the net value of your estate. You can reduce the amount of inheritance tax you pay or sometimes even eliminate it altogether by preparing a will and making use of the allowances and life time gifts permitted by the government. We can provide specialist advice to make sure that your loved ones receive as much as possible from your estate.

05.

Care for your Children’s Future

Making a will is not only about money or property. If you have children who are under 18 you need to consider more than their financial future. By making a will you can appoint guardians to care for your children after your death on a day to day basis. By specifying which family members or partner is to care for your children you will minimise distress and disruption to your children during an uncertain period in their lives.  You will also substantially decrease the possibility of local authorities becoming involved in your children’s future care.

We would also advise that you create a trust to hold monies on behalf of your children until they reach a certain age (commonly 18, 21 or 25). You will appoint trustees to hold and manage your child’s money until they reach the specified age. Your trustee can also be your guardian or can be someone different – the important thing is to realise what a vital role trustees and guardians will play in your children’s future. You should choose these persons with care and should always discuss the role with them before appointing them in your will.

06.

Specific Gifts

How many friends and family members have admired an ornament or piece of furniture? How many of your children think that they will inherit the family wedding ring or jewellery? If you die without a will you will not be able to ensure that friends and family members will receive any items you might want to leave to them. Would it not be reassuring to know that treasured friends and family members received something special to remember you by?

07.

Charitable donations

If you do not have a will then none of your estate will be given to charity or church. Whilst family members and friends might know that your support such good causes it will be impossible for them to divert any part of your estate to charitable donations without specific instructions from you in your will.

08.

Funeral Arrangements

You can specify in your will if you are to be cremated or buried, where the funeral is to take place, your order of service and favourite hymns.

Administration of Estates

We understand that many people feel overwhelmed following the death of a loved one. It’s difficult to deal with your loss funeral arrangements, death certificates and a host of other matters that demand your attention without having to begin to consider how to start to give effect to your loved one’s will.

At DMC we’re here to help.

We appreciate how complicated it can seem to be an executor or an administrator. We have vast experience with dealing with all aspects of administration and have acted in a huge variety of estates; from distributing estates worth millions to tracing beneficiaries; from completing complicated tax returns to arranging for the house to be cleared, inventories taken and for possessions or vehicles sold; from transferring properties to distributing personal effects – Margarita and Lisa have dealt with every aspect of estate administration in a professional, discrete and efficient manner.

If you would like us to assist in administering an estate contact us today to arrange a no obligation consultation.

Enduring Power of Attorney

We know that no-one likes to consider that at some point in the future they may not be able to manage their own affairs. Here at DMC we believe that an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) forms a vital part of any plans for the future. An EPA allows you to appoint someone to look after your general or specific affairs should you become mentally or physically incapable of doing so in the future. For your own peace of mind you can specify that a medical practitioner must certify that you are no longer mentally capable before the Enduring Power of Attorney becomes operative.

At that point your attorney must apply to the court to have the EPA registered and provided that there are no objections the court will grant your attorney legal powers to deal with your affairs including dealing with your finances.

Why Bother? Controller Orders

If you haven’t planned ahead and chosen an attorney then once you become incapable someone will have to apply to the High Court for a Controller Order. This is more complicated and expensive and requires a more involved application to demonstrate to the court that the person applying is suitable to manage your affairs. If appointed, your Controller will be expected to make reports to the Court and may require the Controller to make specific applications to receive the Court’s permission to deal with your assets.  Such applications can be challenged and could lead to disputes within families.

It’s clear that it is preferable that you choose who performs these tasks on your behalf rather than requiring a family member to go through the additional stress and expense of making an application to the Court during what will be a distressing period for all concerned.