Our specialist team of wills, probate, tax and trusts lawyers work to safeguard your financial security for the future.
We are still available and booking appointments over telephone and video conference
We provide Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts services in the following areas:
Forbes Solicitors are experts in these complex areas of law, but you will find the legal advice we offer is straightforward and easy to understand. Whether you are a family member or executor, dealing with a will after a person's death can be a complex affair, which is why our team is dedicated to ensuring the process is dealt with care and compassion. We can also offer fixed fee services for Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Probate.
Our offices may be closed to clients, but we are very much open for business in as normal a way as we can make it. We already operated agile working and all teams in the firm are now working from home, making full use of technology. Our friendly and approachable team are available as usual to provide advice and assistance by telephone, email, conference calls and video conferencing via Skype, Facetime or WhatsApp.
Generally, it is our normal practice to see clients face-to-face to take Will instructions. The main reasons for this are to ensure that you have the mental capacity to make the Will, understand the effect it will have and that you are making the Will voluntarily, without pressure or undue influence from anyone else.
However, in view of the recent COVID-19 outbreak we have adapted our procedure to ensure that we are still able to provide you with clear, straightforward advice and an efficient professional service:
As additional reassurance, when restrictions on movement and social distancing are lifted, an invitation to come into the office at no extra cost to go through and re-sign your Will with a solicitor present.
Visit our dedicated COVID-19 page for more information.
Forbes Solicitors is a member of the Certainty National Registry of Wills. Registering your Will with Certainty ensures that it is easily traceable by your beneficiaries and not overlooked.
We spend our lives working to provide for ourselves and our loved ones. You may have a house or flat, shares, savings, investments as well as your own personal possessions. All of these assets are your "estate". Making a Will ensures that when you die your estate is shared according to your wishes and your loved ones are protected.
Everyone should have a Will but it is even more important if you have children, you own property or have savings, investments, insurance policies or you own a business.
Making a Will may not be as straightforward as it might seem. Once you have decided to make a Will, it is vital that it is done properly. Trying to make your own Will without legal assistance can lead to mistakes or lack of clarity and could mean that your Will is invalid. If you have a number of beneficiaries, your family situation is complex or your finances are complicated it is even more important that you get a professionally trained specialist solicitor to prepare your Will.
Our team of highly skilled Wills, Probate, Tax and Trust solicitors understand that dealing with the repercussions of a Will can be a stressful time for all involved. We are dedicated to ensuring that the process is as smooth as possible.
Firstly, you should list what you have in your estate, then you can decide who you would like to leave it to (your beneficiaries) and in what shares. You also need to think about:
The law sets out rules if you die without a Will.
For example, if the deceased is survived by a spouse/civil partner and children, the surviving spouse/civil partner will receive all the personal chattels and a legacy of £250,000. The balance is divided as to half to the surviving spouse/civil partner and the remaining half to the children.
If you are not married, your partner will not inherit from your estate.
We would strongly advise that a Will is made, allowing you to provide for your intended beneficiaries and to protect your family and loved ones.
Once you have written your Will it is a good idea to review it every 3-5 years to ensure it reflects your wishes. You should also review your Will after major life changes such as:
In the unfortunate instance that you are not happy with the circumstances of a Will, you may be able to contest it. If you feel as though you have not received the outcome you were expecting or if you have relied upon receiving inheritance from a family member, you can raise a dispute with one of our specialist Contentious Wills, Trusts and Probate solicitors.
You can reduce the value of your estate for IHT purposes by making gifts during your lifetime. If you have surplus income or capital you can give cash or assets away to your beneficiaries. There are various exemptions and reliefs available, for example:
It is important to remember that for IHT purposes, you must not retain any benefit from something you have given away. If you do retain any benefit, you will be treated as if you had not made the gift and the value of what you have given away will be included in the valuation of your estate when you die.
You should also be conscious of the tax implications for costly gifts. If you have given away assets with a value of more than the nil rate band £325,000 and you die within 7 years, the Executor or Administrator of your estate may be required to pay IHT.
Before you begin to gift your estate, it is important to speak to a professional regarding what is covered by exemptions. Our Wills, Probate, Tax and Trusts legal team will ensure you are not caught out by any unknown regulations.
The IHT limit known as the nil rate band is currently £325,000. If the total value of all your assets including your house is more than the nil rate band, your estate may attract a 40% IHT charge.
Your estate may qualify for a lower rate of 36% if more than 10% of a component of your net estate is left to charity.
If you are married you may wish to leave your whole estate to your surviving partner, making use of the spouse exemption, with no IHT to pay. On the second death the unused nil rate band can be transferred to your surviving spouse/civil partner - the estate may now benefit from two nil rate bands, up to £650,000.
In addition to the standard nil rate band (currently £325,000) there is a residence nil rate band (currently £125,000, £150,000 from 6 April 2019) available when residential property is left to direct descendants. There are various conditions attached to the residence nil rate band and certain criteria need to be met so it may not be available in full or in every situation.
If you own any agricultural property or a business/shares in a business operating as a trading company (i.e. one which does not hold assets for investment), you may be able to claim relief from paying IHT, which can apply to a lifetime gift or be part of your Will. You should seek advice on your individual situation as in each case certain criteria must be met and the rules are quite complex
As Executor, you are responsible for dealing with the deceased's estate in accordance with the Will. In most cases you will need to apply to the court for a Grant of Probate. This document proves that you are authorised to deal with the estate. We can handle all of the procedures relating to the administration of the estate and give you advice and support at each stage in carrying out your duties.
The term Probate refers to the legal process of dealing with a person's estate after they have passed away. If the deceased left a Will, the executors may need to apply for a Grant of Probate before any estate administration can proceed. If there is no Will, Personal Representatives must apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration.
The question of when a Grant is required heavily relies upon on the deceased's assets and the value of their estate. For example if the deceased owned a property in their sole name, a Grant is most definitely required. We are able to advise as to whether or not you would need to apply for a Grant once we know the assets of the estate.
Dealing with the estate of a deceased person can be a difficult task, which is why our team are on hand to help. We are able to take care of matters in relation to the administration of the estate as well as any disputed matters that may have arisen.