The death of someone you know is often very difficult. It can be made worse by the uncertainty involved in sorting out the financial affairs of the deceased. Executors have responsibilities to be exercised properly and beneficiaries have expectations to be managed sensitively.
Flackwoods has experience with client care expertise to advise on a full range of issues.
The work needed will vary according to whether the deceased left a will or not and in either case family tax planning may be required to manage assets for existing beneficiaries and future generations so those assets are protected wherever possible.
How we can help
Flackwoods Solicitors can advise on the whole probate process: the identifying and valuation of assets and liabilities, completion of all the Inland Revenue and Probate forms, the ways in which the assets can be sold or transferred, the payment of the liabilities and legacies and the eventual distribution of the rest of the estate.
Where there is no will, the intestacy rules can produce quite complicated situations and it is important to receive the right advice to ensure that all the beneficiaries are treated fairly. Where wills or the intestacy rules are contested, Flackwoods Solicitors have experience in advising the estate or the beneficiaries who wish to make a claim against the estate.
A death may trigger inheritance tax, capital gains tax and income tax issues and the self-assessment regime overseen by the Inland Revenue makes it vital that these issues are anticipated and dealt with efficiently to avoid penalties and interest being incurred.
Executors & Beneficiaries
Executors appointed by the deceased’s will are personally responsible for the proper administration of the estate and the payment of the tax due. Efficiency and planning can help to avoid difficulties which may otherwise arise.
Executors may disagree with one another or find themselves facing claims from disappointed beneficiaries alleging the will does not leave them enough money or is being misinterpreted or is simply not valid. Effective advice at an early stage can prevent the administration being delayed and minimise the ill feeling that may otherwise arise.
Beneficiaries who find themselves inheriting significant assets may benefit from further advice to protect those assets from spendthrift relatives and to minimise any tax liabilities.
Inherited wealth may create tax problems for an individual or for his beneficiaries, which can be reduced or avoided altogether by reorganising the distribution of the deceased’s estate. Reorganisation can also allow a family to direct wealth to where it is most needed.
It may be appropriate for a beneficiary to create one of several types of trust to protect assets, reduce tax and maximise planning flexibility for future generations.
The deceased may have created trusts during his lifetime which need continuing, organised management in order to maximise their tax advantages and which need to be considered in conjunction with the estate.
Deeds of Variation
Flackwoods Solicitors can advise on Deeds of Variation and other planning techniques to help beneficiaries and their families not only with the tax situation but also with regard to care fees funding, the continuation of family businesses and making the best use of estate property.
Estate administration encompasses a wide range of complex activities. Flackwoods will give appropriate, sensitive and efficient advice at a particularly difficult time for the family. We will liaise with executors, trustees, beneficiaries and other professional advisers involved in the administration of estates and trusts and we provide guidance on their responsibilities and representation in respect of any dispute.
Our probate services include obtaining grants of probate and letters of administration, collecting assets, liaising with banks, building societies and other financial institutions, advising on post-death tax planning, preparing tax returns, paying legacies and making the final distribution of assets in accordance with your Will.
Where a Will creates a continuing trust or if one is created during your lifetime, we can provide a full trust administration service. This involves liaising with trustees, beneficiaries, investment advisers and the Inland Revenue. It also includes the provision of trust accounts and the settling of all tax liabilities.
For initial advice, assistance or for a general chat about planning, whether for you or someone you know, contact Ian Flack on 01403 738777.