01737 212000 Banstead
020 8661 8611 Sutton

Gowen & Stevens
Slide One
Wills, Probate & Powers Of Attorney
Slide One
Wills, Probate & Powers Of Attorney
Why should I make a Will?

A Will makes it easier for your family/friends to sort out your ‘estate’ when you die.  If you don’t have a Will, the process can be more time consuming and stressful.

A Will can help reduce the amount Inheritance Tax that would be due from your ‘estate’.

If you have children or other family members who depend on you financially, a Will is especially important.  If you want to leave gifts to someone outside your immediate family or a charity, you can make this clear in your Will.

If you don’t have a valid Will, your ‘estate’ will be shared out according to law, which may not be the way you would want.

What happens if I die without making a Will?

If you die without a valid Will in place, you die ‘intestate’.  The law decides who receives your ‘estate’.

General rules which may apply if you haven’t got a valid Will when you die:

  • If you are not married or in a civil partnership, your partner may not be legally entitled to anything from your estate.
  • If you are married, your spouse may inherit most or all of your estate, but your children may not receive anything.  This applies if you are separated but not divorced.
  • If you have children or grandchildren, the amount they are legally entitled to is decided by law.  If you make a Will, you can decide this yourself.
  • Inheritance tax may be more if you don’t have a Will.
What should I include in my Will?

Your Will should say who you want to ‘inherit’ your money, property, possessions etc. when you die.  You will need to appoint at least one person to manage your estate, and to follow your instructions in the Will.  This person is known as an ‘executor’.  Your executor should be someone you trust.

If you have children under the age of 18, you can appoint guardians to look after them. 

You can also include your wishes about your funeral if you would like burial or cremation.  Your executor will do their best to follow your wishes, but they cannot break the law.

How do I ensure my Will is legally valid?

A solicitor is best placed to advise on the validity of your Will.  If you make a Will with us, we will ensure your Will spells out who should inherit when you die, that you were capable of making your own decisions when you wrote the Will, and not under pressure as to who to leave your estate to.

We will also advise on Inheritance Tax and any potential challenges to your Will.

Wills, Probate & Power of Attorney

Wills and the probate process raise sensitive issues for clients that must be dealt with sympathetically. At Gowen & Stevens, we appreciate the care required when advising you or a family member about the rights and obligations of a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). We do all we can to make the process as straightforward as possible.

At an emotional time for you and your family, we give advice that is to the point and sincere.

A Will is a professionally drafted document. It is the most effective way of ensuring your property is left to the people you want to benefit from it — in the manner that reflects your wishes.

With the increasing incidence of divorce, second marriages and civil partnerships, it has never made more sense to make a Will.

We offer a cost-effective service and will ensure that your wishes are clearly documented. In particular, we can explain how the position of any children of previous marriages or relationships can be protected.

Lasting Powers of Attorney

LPAs enable you to appoint someone (called an Attorney) to act on your behalf and to take decisions about your property, financial affairs and welfare if you become mentally incapable.

For many, the prospect of appointing an attorney can be distressing, but there are definite advantages:

  • While your family may be able to apply to Court to appoint someone to act for you if you become mentally incapable, this process is expensive, stressful and time consuming.
  • An LPA means you choose who should manage your affairs at a critical time.

LPAs are detailed and complex documents. There are serious questions to be addressed, and the consequences of entering into an LPA must be considered in detail. We will explain carefully all of the implications of LPAs, so that they are fully understood by you and your family.

We are happy to visit elderly or infirm clients at home to take instructions.

Overview - when we can help…..

What kind of service do we offer?

Wills and the Probate process raise sensitive issues for clients that must be dealt with sympathetically. We appreciate the care required when advising you and we do all we can to make the process as straightforward as possible. We offer a fast, efficient and friendly service, and we are committed to excellence. We are experienced in helping with the difficulties that accompany life events, such as a death in the family or coping with the ageing process.
At an emotional time for you and your family, we give advice that is to the point and sincere.
Our approach to clients is to listen to what you have to say and to give clear guidance. We’ll give you full information about how we operate and advise at all points on the next steps in any matter we are dealing with on your behalf.
We believe in providing affordable services and many of our services are offered at a fixed fee.

Our range of services included:

  • Making a Will
  • Lasting Powers of Attorney
  • Court of Protection applications
  • Probate and the administration of estate
  • Handling disputes about Wills and estates

If you are unable to get to our offices, it may be possible to arrange a home/hospital visit to take your instructions. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Don’t leave it too long.

Specialist advice taken now can help to reduce or remove problems later on. If you think you may need our help, do not hesitate to call us. 

Making a Will

Why make a Will?

Making a Will is one of the most important things you can do to safeguard your assets and to make sure that those you leave behind benefit from your estate.
If you do not make a Will then you do not have control over any of these things.
There are complicated rules governing how a deceased person’s property and money passes where there is no Will and contrary to popular belief, someone’s property does not always pass to their spouse. Co-habiting couples may lose out entirely.
We offer a cost-effective service and will ensure that your wishes are clearly documented. We can explain how the position of any children of previous marriages or relationships can be protected.
Making a Will also enables to you to appoint guardians for your children if they are under the age of 18.
We can advise you of the most effective ways of minimising the inheritance tax burden. In some cases, we can ensure there will be no tax to pay at all.

A Will is an inexpensive way to offer benefit to those you leave after your death

Our service

Our Wills Team can advise you on how your Will can be made to satisfy your specific requirements and prepare a Will tailored to your instructions. We will witness the Will for you and once signed we can store the original Will for you free of charge in our fire safe and supply a copy for you to keep.

Unless your Will is very complicated, we’ll charge fixed fees.

And don’t forget, it is important to review your Will at regular points. Changes in family circumstances or the value of property and savings may mean that the provisions of your Will need reconsidering. Contact us today to arrange a review of your Will.

Lasting Powers of Attorney

Why make a Lasting Power of Attorney?

Most of us want to protect our dignity and independence in later years and to make it easier for those around us. We encourage our clients to plan for future adverse events.
Preparing Lasting Powers of Attorneys to put in place formal legal directions about how your financial affairs, and decisions about your medical and social care are controlled should you lose capacity is an important part of that plan. The people you choose to make decisions are known as 'attorneys'. You can have one attorney or more. You can also appoint replacement attorneys if your original attorney is no longer able or willing to act.

Don’t wait until a calamity strikes; speak to us now to protect you and your family’s best interests.

What can attorneys do for you?

For Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Powers of Attorney, you choose people you trust to make decisions on your behalf about money and financial matters, including:

  • opening, closing and using your bank or building society accounts
  • claiming, receiving and using your benefits, pensions and allowances
  • paying household and other bills
  • buying and selling your house and other property

For Health and Welfare Lasting Powers of Attorney, you choose people you trust to make decisions on your behalf about things such as:

  • giving or refusing consent to particular types of health care, including medical treatment
  • you staying in your own home and getting help and support from social services
  • whether you move into residential care and finding a good care home
  • day-to-day matters such as your diet, dress or daily routine

You must also choose whether your attorneys or your doctors will make decisions if you ever need life-sustaining treatment and you’re not capable of deciding for yourself.

How does our service work?

We meet you to talk about your personal situation, and to discuss with you who is best placed to be your attorneys. You can choose the same people for both types of Lasting Power. As well as choosing people you trust, it is important that your attorneys have the confidence and skills to deal with matters on your behalf.
We draft all the powers on your behalf and make sure you understand how the Lasting Powers will work if you lose capacity. We liaise with your attorneys to obtain their signatures on the Lasting Powers documents and arrange registration of the powers ready for use. We also certify for the Court that you understand the Lasting Powers of Attorney and are making them of your own freewill, an important safeguard in the process.

Court of Protection Applications

When someone cannot deal with their finances

It is a sad fact that as people are living longer more families are facing the situation of dealing with a relative who can no longer deal with their own affairs.

Deputyship applications

If this is a situation affecting you we will look at the financial circumstances of the person who can no longer make their own decisions and advise you on the appropriate course of action. In some cases you may be advised to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed Deputy, in which case we will be pleased to take forward the application on your behalf. Please contact us to discuss if this is an appropriate next step for you and your loved one.

Probate and Administration

Our Probate Services aim to take away the stress of dealing with someone’s affairs after they have died. There’s no need to wait until after the funeral to make the initial contact, and there may be advice or reassurance we can give you early on.

We can help you by:

  • Advising and explaining the terms of the Will
  • If there is no Will, we can advise on who will be entitled to inherit the estate
  • Identifying and valuing assets in the estate
  • Preparing a full account of the estate for HM Revenue and Customs
  • Obtaining a grant of representation from the Probate Registry – this is the official authorisation for executors or administrators to deal with the estate
  • Paying any taxes due
  • Preparing accounts to show what the estate consists of and how it is to be divided up; and
  • Distribution of property and money to the beneficiaries

Our Service

Our service is flexible. Having discussed the options with you, we can do as much or as little of the task of sorting out the deceased’s property and affairs as you wish.
Our priority is always to complete matters without delay, so that property and money benefits those the deceased person intended as soon as possible.
Whether there is a Will or not, or tax to be paid or reclaimed, we will logically and efficiently administer the estate on your behalf and account for the proceeds.
We’ll provide you with a timescale for our work and make clear the key milestones in obtaining probate so that you know what to expect and when.
You will be assigned to a lawyer who will lead your case and be a single point of contact for you should any queries arise.

Our flexible Probate Service keeps you in control of decisions.

We will give you an estimate of our fees and other expenses before we start work, and if any extra costs may have to be incurred we will ask you first.

For an estimate of our fees, click here

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