Will writing services Milton Keynes questions

Here we have listed many generally asked questions, please click any question in a grey box to reveal an answer.

WHY DO I NEED A WILL?

By writing a Will you can decide who inherits your estate.

You can leave gifts to loved ones and express your last wishes.

You can choose who looks after your children, rather than the courts appointing a guardian.

You can choose your executors, someone you trust to manage your affairs and carry out your instructions.

You’ll avoid family disputes over inheritance and writing a will prevents unnecessary stress and headaches for your family when you are not around.

Without a Will (intestate) the courts decide who will inherit your estate and how it will be distributed, they choose the beneficiaries. This may not be the people you would have chosen.

Without a Will the process of winding up the estate becomes more complex, difficult, time consuming and expensive.

Why is it important to have a Lasting Power Of Attorney (LPA) in place?

Nobody knows what the future holds, you could become incapacitated through accident / illness and not be able to manage your affairs!

If you appoint someone to have Power of Attorney this should be someone you trust , who knows you and will act in your best interests. This will allow them to access your finances to ensure that your bills/mortgage is being met, any other financial commitments and to enable them to buy things that you may need/want. With a Health and Welfare LPA it will allow your attorneys to make decisions regarding your health care, such as medication and where you live for example.

Without an LPA the court of protection will appoint someone to make these decisions for you. They can freeze bank accounts and decide how your money is spent. This could leave your loved ones with financial constraints. Health professionals will make the final decisions regarding your healthcare options.

This Deputy could be someone who does not know you or what your wishes are.

What is an estate?

Someone’s estate is everything that they own; all of their assets (whether real property or personal property) and their liabilities.

Who are Executors and what are their responsibilities?

An Executor is a person who is appointed in the deceased’s Will to deal with the administration of their estate after their death.

What is the difference between an Administrator and Executor

A general term for somebody entitled to deal with the Estate Administration is a Personal representative. When a person dies without making a Will, the closest next of kin would be an Administrator who would be entitled to extract the Grant of Letters of Administration. An Executor is someone who has been appointed under a Will to deal with the estate administration.

It is the duty of the personal representative to pay off all debts of the deceased and if this is not done then they may be personally liable to pay money back into the estate.

What is probate?

Probate is the court’s authority, given to a person or persons, to administer a deceased estate and the document issued by the Probate Registry is called a Grant of Probate. This document is usually required by the asset holders (such as banks) as proof to show the correct person or persons have the Registry’s authority to administer a deceased person’s estate.

Do I need a Grant of Probate - everything was held jointly?

The Probate process is needed when investments (typically over £5,000) were held in the deceased’s sole name and the banks, building societies and other organisations request for a Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration in order to release the funds held.

A Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration is also required where one had held the property in their sole name in order to sell or transfer the property.

How soon can a Grant of Probate / Grant of Letters of Administration be obtained?

In straightforward estates we can prepare all the necessary papers within 7 working days of receiving full financial information about the estate from the Executor/ Administrator or from the various financial institutions, and we can then obtain the Grant within 10 working days of the Executor/Administrator signing and returning the duly signed papers to us.

Am I liable for my loved one’s debts?

No, this vests in the deceased person’s estate. It is a common misconception amongst people that when a person dies their debts disappear but this is not the case unless otherwise stated. When a person dies their debts are paid for from their assets at the time of death. If their debt exceeds their available assets then the estate will be insolvent. Sometimes it is not known if an estate is insolvent until the grant of probate has been received. When the estate of the deceased is insolvent, gifts and legacies cannot be distributed to the beneficiaries under the Will. This part of the law is governed by Administration of Insolvent Estates of Deceased Persons Order 1986 (DPO 1986).

I only need a Grant of Probate - what can you offer me?

Our trusted Partner Solicitors can offer two services:

“Grant only” – You provide the valuations and details about the estate and they will prepare the necessary legal documentation and tax returns and apply for the Grant at the Probate Registry, leaving you thereafter to deal with the rest of the estate administration.

Full Estate Administration – We will take full responsibility for dealing with the estate administration from start to finish

What is the Court of Protection?

The Court of Protection is a specialist Court who makes decisions on applications which involve people who lack mental capacity who are especially vulnerable and are unable to make decisions themselves, such as appointing a Deputy. The Court of Protection will always make decisions in the best interests of the individual.

Deputyship – who needs one?

When a friend or loved one has lost their ability to manage their own financial affairs (often referred to as the loss of mental capacity), the Court of Protection  appoints someone to do this on their behalf. This person is known as a Deputy and is given the legal authority to manage the day to day financial affairs of the person who has lost mental capacity.

It is important to remember that someone may be able to make decisions about everyday issues like what to eat or what to watch on television, but can lack the mental capacity to make decisions on more complex issues, like management of their finances.

How much does it cost to apply to become a Deputy?

A Deputyship application starts from [£1000] + VAT in line with the Court of Protection scale of fixed costs.

There are some disbursements, primarily a £400 court fee, but these will be clearly set out for you prior to the start of the application process.

The fees are billed at the end of the application process and the Court allows payment to be made out of the funds of the incapacitated person as the Order is made on their behalf. Therefore you will not be expected to pay any upfront costs other than the disbursements as mentioned above.