Wills, Life Planning & Probate
Our Wills, Life Planning & Probate Team offers a complete wills and probate service which includes:
- Preparation of Wills – We are piloting a new scheme to offer free Wills in return for a donation to charity – find out more here.
- Inheritance tax planning
- Preparation and registration of Lasting Powers of Attorney
- Administration of Estates
- Court of Protection applications
- Equity Release
- Long term care planning
Why choose us?
We provide a professional and caring service for all our clients from our offices in Colchester, Chelmsford, Billericay, Clacton-on-Sea, Holland-on-Sea, and London.
- Free Will in return for a donation to charity.
- Free storage of Wills
- Free registration of your Will with the National Will Register, Certainty.
- Fixed costs on all services.
- Free home visits to the elderly or infirm
- Free Wills and Probate drop-in clinic on Thursday mornings between 10am and 1pm in our Clacton-on-Sea, Holland-on-Sea, Chelmsford, and Billericay offices and lunchtimes between 12pm – 2pm at our Colchester office. These have been postponed due to COVID-19, we are now pleased to be offering virtual advice clinics – find out more here.
- A professional and qualified team and members of The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners and the Equity Release Council.
Comments from our Wills, Life Planning & Probate Clients
- “Prompt and efficient service. Professional at all times.”
- “Very pleased with every aspect concerning my business with you.”
- “Very efficient friendly service.”
It is always surprising that a large number of people don’t ever think to make a Will despite this being one of the most important legal documents you should make during your lifetime.
If you die having not made a Will your estate could be distributed amongst beneficiaries with whom you would not ordinarily wish to benefit such as a spouse or civil partner with whom you have separated but not legally divorced.
Many people will attempt to write their own Wills and this can result in disaster. Sometimes homemade Wills fail to appoint an executor or fail to dispose of all the assets of the person who has died. Others include too much detail and have to be unravelled to discover the true intentions of the person who has passed away and can lead to expensive court proceedings.
As a nation we are pretty good at leaving funds to charity however according to a report prepared by the Charities Aid Foundation, the British public gave nearly £10 billion to their favourite causes last year and a significant chunk of that was donated by people as part of their Will.
Legacy income accounted for £2.8 billion of donations, making it the largest single source of voluntary income to the charity sector and vital to the survival of many. Yet only 6 per cent of people leave a gift to charity in their Will.
In a bid to encourage the 54% of UK adults who do not have a Will to make one, Fisher Jones Greenwood is piloting a new scheme to offer free Wills in return for a donation to charity. The choice of charity and the sum gifted is entirely up to the individual.
By participating in this scheme not only are you ensuring your loved ones are taken care of financially on death, you will be benefiting the many thousands of charities across the UK who are in need. In addition, the gift to charity is tax-free and can also reduce the amount of inheritance tax that the rest of your estate will pay. This is because if you give at least 10% of your taxable estate to charity, the inheritance tax rate for the rest of your estate drops from 40% to 36%.
With offices in Colchester, Chelmsford, Billericay, Clacton-on-Sea, Holland-on-Sea and London we are ideally positioned to serve clients throughout Essex and London.
Everyone over the age of 18 can make a LPA provided they understand how to make it, the choices they can make and the power that it gives. It is very important you understand the implications and this is why an LPA must be set up before you lose mental capacity.
The person(s) you choose could be a member of your family, a trusted friend or a legal advisor and you can nominate different Attorney(s) to assume responsibility for different decisions i.e. an Attorney for your finances and an Attorney for making decisions relating to your personal welfare. If you choose more than one Attorney for each area then you must decide whether the appointment is a joint appointment in which case the Attorneys all have to act together or a joint and several appointment when they can act together or individually.
LPA – Property and Affairs
Your Attorney(s) will have the power to manage your property and financial affairs. For example operating a bank account, rearranging your investments and selling property. Your Attorney is not permitted to make gifts on your behalf other than those that you have made on a regular basis e.g. Christmas and birthday gifts to the family or regular charitable donations.
LPA – Personal Welfare
Your Attorney will have power to make decisions about your health care and medical treatment e.g. where you should live and who looks after you on a day to day basis; consenting to or refusing medical examination and treatment.
In both forms of LPA you can add restrictions or conditions to areas where you would not wish the Attorney to have the power to act.
Your LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used and an unregistered LPA will not give your Attorney any legal powers to make a decision for you. You can register the LPA while you are still capable or the Attorney can apply to register the LPA at any time.
Every adult should make a Will and a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for further information follow the links. A Will comes into place when you die but an LPA is used by your appointed Attorney if you are unable to manage your finances or make decisions about your health and welfare due to physical or mental incapacity. It is essential to have these important legal documents in place not only for your own peace of mind but also to make life easier for your family should you die or lose capacity.
One Lasting Power of Attorney
£450 + VAT*
Two Lasting Powers of Attorney
£800 + VAT*
Two Lasting Powers of Attorney
£800 + VAT*
Two Lasting Powers of Attorney
£1,400 + VAT*
*All prices include VAT at 20%
An LPA cannot be used until it is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. The above prices include the cost of registration but do not include the fee charged by the OPG of £82 per document.
- FREE life-time storage
- FREE home visits for the elderly or infirm
We can advise on setting up the Lasting Powers of Attorney and on the application for registration. To contact FJG about setting up LPA’s, please contact us on 01206 835261, email [email protected] or fill in the enquiry form below.
What is a Trust?
A trust is a legal arrangement which enables an individual known as a settlor to transfer assets such as cash, or property, to another person known as a trustee. The trustee holds the assets for the benefit of an individual, or class of individuals, who are in turn known as the beneficiaries.
Reasons for setting up a Trust
Due to the flexible nature of trusts, they can be used for a wide range of different circumstances. The most popular include:
- Inheritance Tax Planning
- Long Term Care Planning
- Asset Protection.
Our Wills, Life Planning & Probate team are able to advise on all aspects in relation to the creation, administration, and termination of trusts.
If you are appointed an executor of a Will or if you are the person entitled to extract a Grant in an intestacy, then this can be quite a daunting experience which can involve a great deal of your time.
If the estate is substantial, you may find you have to complete an Inland Revenue Account and raise Inheritance Tax before you can obtain a Grant. You will need to obtain probate valuations of all the assets at the date of death which could involve instructing an Estate Agent to value property and Stockbrokers to value shares. You will also need to finalise the income tax affairs of the person who has died.
Sometimes there are beneficiaries in the Will who have moved away (or perhaps there is no address in the Will for them) and there could be problems tracing them.
Our team of experienced lawyers can arrange all the necessary valuations, complete all accounts and documents to lead to the Grant. We will arrange closure of bank accounts, sale of shares and property. We are able to instruct genealogists to trace missing beneficiaries and, ultimately, we will pay out any legacies in the Will and distribute what is left to the residuary beneficiaries.
We offer an initial free face to face appointment at our offices to discuss your case. Following this initial appointment we will advise you of our fixed fee charges before commencing any legal work giving you peace of mind from the outset.
Grant Only Service
For estates where a full Inland Revenue account known as an IHT 400 is not required, for a fixed fee of £950 plus Vat plus disbursements of Probate Court fee £155, ( additional copies of the Grant cost £1.50 each). We are able to prepare the paperwork leading to the issue of the Grant.
This service will suit individuals who wish to administer the estate themselves ( typically due to it’s simplicity and low value) but do not have the time to attend the interview at their local probate registry and complete the personal application forms.
Fixed fee is exclusive of the Court fee which is £155.
Equity Release is a way for homeowners typically over the age of 55 to release a tax free cash lump sum from the equity tied up in their home. Alternatively home owners may opt to receive a regular income for the rest of their life.
Factors such as increasing life expectancy, low interest rates, inflation and a reduction in retirement income have contributed significantly to the demand for Equity Release in recent years.
The most popular reasons for releasing equity include:-
- Repaying an existing mortgage
- Home improvements
- To provide financial assistance for family members or pass on an early inheritance
- To replenish savings
- Repaying existing debts and lowering monthly outgoings
- Inheritance tax planning
- Assist divorcing couples when splitting assets
- Funding long term care.
Why Choose Us?
We are able to offer our clients face to face, expert independent legal advice, on all aspects of Equity Release.
We charge a fixed fee of £700 plus VAT which includes a free Will review, and home visits at no extra costs for those clients in the local area who are unable to attend our offices.
If for any reason you decide not to proceed to completion we will waive our fee.
As well as the useful information sheets below. We also have a helpful Wills, Life Planning & Probate Jargon Buster on our blog.
The Importance of Making a WillWills Information LeafletLPA LeafletA Guide for AttorneysGrant of Probate LeafletWhat To Do When Someones DiesEquity Release MortgageClients considering a gift of the family homeNote to client explaining probateWhat to consider when making a WillItems required for Probate
Our Wills, Life Planning, and Probate team run a free Wills & Probate advice clinic every Thursday morning from 10am until 1pm. In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the service will be running virtually until further notice; appointments can be booked as a telephone call, or video call using one of the following platforms – FaceTime, Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp or Zoom. It is now necessary to call or email ahead to arrange your appointment.
How it works
Our team will contact you at the pre-arranged time via telephone or video call, you are able to have 15 minutes with a Solicitor who can answer any questions which you may have on a Wills, Trusts or Probate issue. Whilst it will not provide you with in-depth specific legal advice on a matter, it can help give general advice and point you in the right direction.
Our Wills clinic can help provide advice on the following;
- Drafting a Will – especially if there has been a change in your circumstances recently such as marriage, divorce, having children, or the unfortunate loss of a loved one.
- Lasting Powers of Attorneys (LPA’s) – these are vital if you wish for a loved one to be able to make important decisions on your behalf in respect of your property and affairs and even your own health. We aim to help explain what these are and the benefits of these.
- Administration of estates and what the way forward in the process is – the loss of a loved one is a tough time for anyone and we aim to help bear the burden of dealing with the estate.
- Inheritance tax – nobody likes to hear the word “tax” but we help to explain what this mystery really means for you.
- And pretty much any aspect of Wills, Trusts, and Probates that you could think of!
Our Wills clinic is absolutely FREE!
Here at FJG, we have set up a Coronavirus Legal Advice hub with information on the legal issues that have arisen as a result of COVID-19.