As we get older all sorts of issues that we haven’t needed or wanted to think about suddenly become much more important.
At Scott-Moncrieff we know that later life can bring its own stresses and strains. It’s why we have a dedicated team of wills and probate solicitors with specialist expertise in all the areas that older people need to focus on.
Our clients’ peace of mind is at the very top of our list of priorities. We always take a holistic approach, looking at all your individual requirements together and advising on how best to make sure they’re addressed in a way that’s practical and consistent.
I haven’t made a Will. What do I need to do?
These days it’s sensible to make a will as early as possible, but we know it’s something that’s all too easily postponed. In fact, drawing up a will is far more straightforward than many people imagine and it’s often possible to complete the process in a single meeting with a specialist lawyer.
We’ll advise on all the options available to you and your family. If you need help deciding how best to dispose of your estate we’ll provide expert guidance and explain the implications of the various options available. We’ll also advise on Inheritance Tax (IHT) planning, making sure your Will is as tax-efficient as possible and we’ll provide information and guidance about Life Time gifts.
Making a will is one of the few things you can do to make life easier for your family and friends after you’ve gone. The vast majority of our clients leave our offices saying how relieved they feel and that they wish they’d put their affairs in order years ago.
What legal steps do I need to take when a loved one dies?
Becoming a widow or widower is overwhelming in itself, without the large amounts of paperwork and the various legal processes that have to be dealt with. It can all seem very daunting, especially if you also find that you’re responsible for running the household finances for the first time.
Scott-Moncrieff’s specialist wills and probate team gives the right legal advice in a sensitive and caring way – they relieve the burden at a time when everything can seem too much.
The team has the expertise to resolve all the issues and queries that arise after a death. Our aim is that you’ll use us as a one-stop service to deal with everything at the same time.
A large part of our work is dealing with the administration of Estates once someone has died. We can offer a full service including obtaining valuations, completing the Inland Revenue accounts and obtaining the Grant of Probate and distributing the estate.
We’ll advise on other things you may need to do, such as returning a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) to the appropriate body. We’ll also provide practical advice, even on simple but important points such as how you can minimise the amount of post you receive for the person who has died.
In short, we’ll do as much or as little of the leg work as you wish. Click on this link to find out more about our full range of Wills and Probate services on our dedicated wills and probate page.
Lasting Power of Attorney – England & Wales
Clients of all ages also seek legal advice about Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs). An LPA allows you to plan well ahead, to choose carefully someone that you trust to manage your financial affairs in the event that you lose mental capacity in the future. You can also appoint an Attorney to make decisions about your health and welfare.
If you fall ill and no longer have the mental capacity to make decisions about your treatment a health and welfare LPA is a way of ensuring that your wishes are respected. It’s also something that will make life immeasurably easier for your family, as you can include a statement about whether you want to receive life-sustaining treatment in certain specific circumstances.
Scott-Moncrieff also has extensive experience of managing clients’ financial affairs where they have no one else that can act as an Attorney for them, advising on nursing home fees and contracts, Deferred Payment Agreements and Legal Charges.
What is a Living Will?
The phrase ‘Living Will’ doesn’t have a legal meaning, as such, but usually refers to either an ‘advance decision’ or an ‘advance statement’ about how one’s affairs, property and other matters are handled while one is still alive. Only an advance decision is legally binding, enabling you to express your wishes, including what types of medical treatment you would and wouldn’t want in certain situations (e.g. life support, or life-prolonging intervention). It will only come into play if you lose the capacity to make or communicate your wishes.
Because advance decisions and Lasting Powers of Attorney are both legally binding, it’s important to get professional advice about how the two will work together and about the order you make them in.
Some people change their minds about advance decisions and LPAs, so in the eye of the law the more recent document will be the one that’s adhered to. For example, if you make an advance decision after making a health and welfare LPA, your advance decision will take priority. If you make a health and welfare LPA second, your attorney may be able to override your advance decision if your LPA expressly gives your attorney authority to make decisions about the same treatment.
How can I fund my case? Legal Aid in England & Wales
Our team of legal advisers will be able to advise on the best way of funding the legal services you need. Generally speaking, services relating to wills, Probate and LPAs will have to be privately funded. Because we know affordability is a key issue, we’ll make sure you’re kept fully abreast of costs so there are no nasty surprises at the end.
Contact our Wills & Probate Solicitors in London