Legal stuff can seem daunting for most of us and so it's important that when we do need help that we can go to a professional and qualified service that will give you the answers in plain English, without the legal jargon.
Here are Over50choices we have teamed up with Lifetime Legal, an experienced team of legal experts to offer you a telephone service that is always just one call away for all your legal questions.
Here is a summary of some of the services on offer:
- Professional Will Writing Service so you can be sure your wishes are carried out
- Advice and help with setting up a Power of Attorney
- If you need a Lasting Power of Attorney we can advise you on the most appropriate options
- Protect your assets with a suitable Trust
- Plan your later life financial affairs using our Estate Planning Services
- Purchasing a Prepaid Probale Plan could save your estate £000's
- Conveyancing Services if you are moving home
- Personal and family legal advice
These services are just one phone call away 03332 406895 from the comfort of your own home, our professional advisers will talk you through the details, answer your questions and prepare the legal documentation in a timescale that suits you.
An option to consider
When you use our services we will offer annual membership giving you access to our legal services at a reduced price, with 24 hour access to legal support all for just £90 a year.
To find out more about our Legal Services, call 03332 406895 to speak to one of our friendly legal experts.
Making a Will
Making a Will doesn’t have to be a costly or an onerous task; regardless of whether you choose to use one of the many Will kits on offer or prefer to use the support and guidance of a professional.
The most important thing is to ensure all your wishes are included and that it is a legally valid Will. Cheap Wills may seem attractive but if they are not legally valid, they may not be worth the paper they are written on.
How much does it cost to Make a Will?
For Single Will or Mirror Will it will cost £75 plus VAT (£90)
Plus you get one year’s free Over50choices Legal Services Membership worth £90.
In addition to your professionally written Will, as a member you will have:
- Unlimited access to expert legal advice 24 hours a day
- Discounts on a wide range of legal services
- Free will updates
Whether it’s a dispute with an employer, family member or neighbour, advice on your rights as a consumer or unmarried partner or assistance with the legalities of moving home, Wills and probate, inheritance tax planning or trusts, we can help.
To arrange your Will and become an Over50choices Legal Services Member please call 03332 406895 to speak to our friendly team of experts.
What is a Will?
The only way to make sure your money and belongings go to the right people and ensure you don't pay unnecessary taxes to the government is to make a Will.
Do you have property, children, step children, grandchildren? Are you married, remarried, living with a partner, divorced, separated? Yes? Well these are all very good reasons for making a Will.
Currently around two thirds of the UK don’t have a Will in place; worrying statistics when you consider the risks.
Writing a Will doesn’t have to be expensive, complicated or morbid and it could save your family a lot of heartache. For just a bit of effort now, you will have the reassurance and security of knowing that when you die, your wishes will be adhered to and the things you’ve worked hard for all your life will go to the right people.
In general terms a Will allows you to do the following things:
Name the Executor of a Will
The Executor of a Will are the people you nominate to carry out your wishes and sort out your finances when you die.
This includes dealing with paperwork and paying off the mortgage or other debts out of money in the estate, so it makes sense to choose a trusted friend or relative as your Executor of Will.
You could select a solicitor, accountant or bank but this may be expensive. It is also advisable to appoint more than one Will Executor, just in case something happens to one of them.
Distribute your Estate
This is where you decide what happens to your belongings including property, money, investments, business, car, life insurance, jewellery and pets.
Migrate Inheritance Tax
The law stipulates that you pay 40% of any assets worth over an individual's allowance. Although there may be no way to avoiding inheritance tax, you may be able to reduce the amount paid.
Appoint a legal guardian for children under the age of 18
This is particularly important for one parent families or unmarried parents who live together. If there is no Will in place the Court will decide the future of the children.
Protect unmarried partners
Even if a couple have been cohabiting for a number of years, dying without a Will in place will mean the surviving partner does not inherit the deceased’s estate.
Dying without a Will
Dying without a Will in place means you have died intestate and the State will decide who inherits your estate according to the intestacy rules.
This could leave the people you care about in an extremely vulnerable position; for example, without a Will:
- Unmarried partners can’t inherit from each other
- Children from former marriages may not be provided for if you have remarried
- Provision may not be made for children if both parents die
- Married couples may not inherit the whole estate
Quite simply the intestacy rules are old, antiquated and certainly don’t take into account the more completed lives we lead today so why leave it to chance, make a Will today.
Benefits of our Will Writing Service
Professional advice and support
You will be assisted throughout the process of completing the Will. We tailor all of our advice and provisions to match your requirements and circumstances.
We will keep things simple and explain the provision in plain English.
You will have an adviser to speak to until you are happy with the finalised version of your Will.
No hidden costs
We offer a fixed fee service. All our costs are explained to you and any additional products you may wish to take are completely optional. We do not charge by the hour or for any additional communication by either telephone/email or post.
The appointment is carried out via a questionnaire and then a subsequent telephone conversation and can be scheduled around you. This saves you having to take time of your day to visit our offices; you can instead do the appointment in the comfort of your own home over the telephone. .
Lifetime storage of the Document
You are welcome to store the Will with us. We offer lifetime storage of the document and will provide you with a copy of the Will and the storage details should the Will need to be retrieved.
Types of Wills
Depending on your requirements, there are a number of different types of Will for you to choose from:
A simple Will suitable for an individual. It includes the appointment of the executors, noting of any gifts and details the beneficiary who will receive the remainder of the estate once all other beneficiaries have received their inheritance and debts have been paid.
Similar to the Single Will but Intended for couples. Mirror Wills are two Wills which are almost identical but for the name of the partner.
This is where one or more individuals are made legally responsible for holding assets such as land, money, buildings or shares on behalf of the beneficiaries.
Discretionary Trust Wills
Similar to Trust Wills but rather than you deciding how your Estate should be split, it is left to the Trustees to decide based on the circumstances at the time. These can be useful for people who have concerns about a vulnerable person inheriting a lump sum. .
Property Trust Wills and Flexible Will Trusts
Property Trust Wills and Flexible Trust Wills
Your share of the property is placed into trust protecting its value and ensuring that your beneficiaries receive some inheritance should the surviving partner remarry or end up needing residential care.
A way of protecting the value of assets for future generations. Your assets are held in a trust which pays income generated to your surviving partner for their lifetime. When your partner has died, the assets are distributed to the beneficiaries.
A living Will or Advanced Decision gives you the opportunity to dictate the type of treatment you wish to receive in the event that you are physically unable to communicate your wishes.
Frequently asked questions about Wills
We compare funeral plans and providers offering you free advice to help you get the best plan that meets your needs. Quite simply we get paid a commission for every plan we sell which we are happy to share with you.
How much does a Will cost?
The cost of a Will depends on whether you use a DIY Wills template, use a wills online service or go to a solicitor. It will also depend on the complexity of the Will; simple Wills start from around £75 whereas more complex Wills written by a specialist who deals with trusts could cost in the region of £500 to £600.
What should I include in my Will?
When you take professional advice about making a Will, using a Will Writing Service like ours, all this will eb taken care for you, but if you are making your own, you should ensure that it includes the following.
- The names of your executors
- Who you want to benefit for your Will (beneficiary)
- What happens should a beneficiary die
- Who should look after any children under the age of 18
How can I be sure my Will is safe and secure?
Once you have your Will in place, make sure you tell the Will executor, a close friend or a relative where it is. To keep it safe, you could choose to store your Will:
- with other important documents
- with your solicitor
- with your bank
- with a company that offer a Will Storage facility
Do I need a solicitor to make a Will?
You don’t need a Solicitor to make a Will but it may be worth getting either a Solicitor or someone who is suitably qualified in estate planning like the team at Over50choices Legal Services to check the document once you’ve completed it, just to make sure it is legally valid. Mistakes are easily made so you don’t want any errors causing financial or emotional problems when the time comes.
Also it may be worth getting advice from a solicitor or suitably qualified person if your Will isn’t straightforward. For example:
- you share a property with someone who isn't your husband, wife or civil partner
- you want to leave money or property to a dependant who can't care for themselves
- if you have previous marriages and children from different relationships
- your permanent home isn't on the UK or you are a resident in the UK but have property abroad
- you have a business
How can I be sure my Will is legally vaild?
A legally valid Will must be:
- made by someone who is at lease 18 years of age
- made voluntary
- made by a person of sound mind
- in writing
- signed and witnessed by at least 2 independant witnesses
What are the mistakes with making DIY Wills?
Here are some things to look out for if you do decide on making your own Will, should you have any doubts after reading this section please contact us and we will take care of everything for you:
- make sure it's a legally valid Will by conforming to the requirements
- make sure you take into account ALL of the money and assets
- include what should happen if the beneficiary dies
- ensure that nay changes are witnessed by at least 2 people
- be aware of the impact that marriage and divorce can have on a Will
How often should I update my Will?
Life is constantly changing so it makes sense to check and where necessary update your Will every few years. You should definitely revisit your Will if you are:
- getting married, remaaried or registering a civil partnership
- getting divorced
- having children or grandchildren
- buying or selling property
Or you may have just had a change of heart. What seemed important to you 4 years ago has changed and so you want to reflect this in your Will.
Keep in mind that any changes made to the Will need to be legally valid so it may be worth getting them checked by a solicitor.
Alternatively why not speak to one of the team at Over50choices Legal Services on 03332 406895.
How can I buy a Will?
Making sure you have a legal Will that covers all of your possessions and wishes is vitally important so it’s helps to have support from the experts.
We know that most people don't know where to start when making a Will, so when you buy a Will with Over50choices legal services you get free legal advice every step of the way!
For £75 plus VAT our team of qualified specialists will arrange a Will that fully meets your needs and in addition you get one year’s free Over50choices legal services membership worth £90.
As a member, you will have unlimited access to expert legal advice 24 hours a day and benefit from discounts on a wide range of legal services, including free Will updates. Whether it’s a dispute with an employer, family member or neighbour; advice on your rights as a consumer or unmarried partner or assistance with the legalities of moving home, Wills and probate, inheritance tax planning or trusts, we can help.
To arrange your Will and become an Over50choices Legal Services Member please call 03332 406895 to speak to our friendly team of experts.
What are the Intestacy Rules?
When someone dies without leaving a valid Will, they are said to have died ‘intestate’. In this situation, the estate must be distributed according to the ‘intestacy rules’, a statutory set of rules that decide who will inherit and in what priority.
You shouldn’t assume that your husband or wife will inherit the whole estate as you may find according to the ‘rules of intestacy’ that although they have priority over other beneficiaries, they may have to share the inheritance with other family members.
Unmarried couples should also seriously consider making a Will because according to the rules of intestacy, they have no inheritance rights and will not even be allowed to administer their partner’s estate.
Why do I need to make a Will?
When you die without a Will the law will decide who should receive your assets and if you have no living family members your assets will go to the Crown.
We can help you make a Will for £75 plus VAT and give you complete peace of mind that when you die your money and property will go to those you wanted it to.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A lasting power of attorney is a legal document that states who you would like to look after your health and financial decisions should you be unable to do so. Without a lasting power of attorney (LPA) it can be difficult for your family to access your money and the state will make your health decisions for you
See our section on Lasting Power of Attorney which includes how much it costs to set one up.
Can I make a donation to Charity in my Will?
Yes, in fact around 13% of all charitable donations are made from a legacy
Any donations you make in your Will our usually exempt from Inheritance Tax.
We can guide you on this as part of our Will Writing Service.
Power of Attorney
Power of Attorney is someone you appoint to act on your behalf, giving them legal authority to deal with third parties such as banks in the event that you are either no longer able to do so yourself, or prefer that someone else handles your affairs.
There are two different types of Power of Attorney; an Ordinary Power of Attorney and a Lasting Power of Attorney.
How much will a Power of Attorney cost?
A Single Lasting Power of Attorney will cost £207.50 plus VAT (£249)
Ordinary Power of Attorney
Ordinary Power of Attorney gives someone the authority to look after your affairs for a period of time, perhaps to cover physical illness or a long period abroad.
Lasting Power of Attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a document which enables you to nominate individuals (known as Attorneys) to have the legal authority to make decisions for you.
Many people think that a Lasting Power of Attorney is only needed for the Elderly or Infirm however this is not the case.
A Lasting Power of Attorney could also assist in the event of an unexpected accident leaving a person unable to manage their own affairs.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney one that deals with your Health and Welfare and one that deals with your Property and Financial Affairs.
What will my Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney deal with?
The Health and Welfare document gives your Attorney the legal authority to make any health and welfare decision on your behalf, this could include:
- Giving or refusing consent for any medical treatment including surgery
- The decision to refuse life sustaining treatment
- Your day to day welfare such as routine, dress or diet
- Dealing with Social Service on your behalf
- Where you live – choosing if you should be placed into a care home or stay home. Also choosing which care home you would be placed in.
- Access to medical records and personal information
All these decisions can be made by your own attorney rather that a state provided person who may not understand your needs as an individual.
What will my Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney deal with?
The Property and Final Affairs document gives your Attorney the legal authority to deal with any aspects of your financial affairs on your behalf, this could include:
- Paying your bills
- Dealing with bank and building society accounts.
- Claiming any benefits, pensions and allowances
- Buying or selling property
- Continuing gifts to family and charities
Selection of Attorneys
When selecting your Attorneys it is vital that you select people who you trust completely to act in your best interest. You are giving the attorney enormous responsibility and placing your well being into their hands.
Please be aware that all named Attorney must follow a Code of Conduct to act in your best interest at all times. If anyone suspects your Attorney of abusing their position they can report them directly to the Office of The Public Guardian who will investigate the matter.
Registering the Documents
For the Lasting Power of Attorney to be used and have a legal standing the document must be registered. This is registered with the government body The Office of The Public Guardian.
The cost of registering each document is currently £110.00 per document and is payable to the Office of The Public Guardian. You may be entitled to a remission based on your income. Please speak to Lifetime Legal directly so we can advise if this would apply to you.
Loss of Capacity
Please be aware that in order to complete a Lasting Power of Attorney the individual who wants to give the legal authority for someone else to deal with their affairs must have the capacity and full understanding of the document that they are putting into place.
If you believe the person no longer has that capacity then the Lasting Power of Attorney is no longer an option. Instead you should contact the Court of Protection on 03332 406895 for further assistance on the possible options that you can take in order to deal with their affairs.
Prepaid Probate could save you money
When it comes to paying for probate services, many solicitors and banks charge a percentage of the total assets regardless of how much or how little work is required, which ultimately can reduce the value of the estate left for family by thousands of pounds.
How much does Prepaid Probate cost?
Prepaid probate services start from £699
Our initial advice is free and then you pay a fixed fee starting from above .
Through our partnership with legal services expert’s lifetime legal, you have the opportunity to pay a fixed price for probate services in advance, based fairly on the complexity of your estate and more importantly save money by paying at today’s prices.
Quite simply with a Prepaid Probate Plan, you can be reassured that you:
- Only pay for the services required based on your estate
- Save money by securing probate services at today’s prices
- Avoid the impact of future price increases
- Guarantee to cover probate costs with nothing more to pay
- Arrange everything so your family doesn’t have to worry about it
- Secure help from a team of experienced probate solicitors
To find out more about the pre-paid probate plan or probate services in general, why not call the team of experts on 03332 406895.
Inheritance Tax is the tax paid on the assets you leave behind when you die, if the value is greater than the Inheritance Tax limit once any debts or outstanding payments have been deducted.
Anything over the Inheritance Tax limit will be liable for tax payable at 40%.
Inheritance Tax Planning
Leave everything to your partner
You don’t pay inheritance tax if you leave everything to your partner as long as you are married or in a civil partnership. In addition to inheriting the estate, your partner would also inherit your £325,000 tax allowance. Therefore when they die, inheritance tax will only be paid if the value of the estate is greater than £650,000.
Make a gift to family or friends
If you give limited amounts every year to friends or family, you may not have to pay Inheritance Tax. Alternatively, if the gift is greater than the allowable limit, it is only classed as part of your estate for 7 years.
Put things into a Trust Fund
Some Trust Funds are not liable for inheritance tax as they no longer form part of your estate however the rules are complicated so it is worth getting advice from an expert who deals with inheritance tax planning.
Leave something to Charity
Donations or gifts to charity, usually made when writing a Will, are tax free so a useful way to reduce your inheritance tax bill. Also if the value of your estate is over the threshold and you leave at least 10% to charity, the rate of tax you pay will reduce from 40% to 36%.
Take out Life Insurance
As part of your Inheritance Tax planning you may wish to consider taking out a whole of life insurance plan, sometimes referred to as an Inheritance Tax Insurance plan, in order to offset your tax bill - make sure the life policy is written in Trust, as if you don't you will end up paying more tax as your estate will be worth more money - if you are unsure as to your needs you should seek independent financial advice.
For more information on inheritance tax planning why not call the team of experts at Over50choices Legal Services on 03332 406895
Not only is it a good idea to have planned your funeral, it’s also really important to know that your money, property and possessions have been taken care of!
Estate Planning is the process people go through in preparation for a time when they are either no longer around or able to manage their own affairs to ensure their assets are protected, their wishes are adhered to and the people they care about are looked after.
Wills and Probate, Trusts, Inheritance Tax Planning, Asset Protection, and Power of Attorney are all ways of making sure your wishes are acted on, forming the basis of your estate planning needs.
Done properly, with the help of experts, estate planning can be a straightforward process that could save your family a considerable amount of money and heartache in the long term.
If you think you haven’t got much of an estate to ‘plan’ or are put off by the thought of the legal process think again. Regardless of the size of your house, the balance of your bank account, the possessions you have around you; they all need to go somewhere when you die so isn’t it better to put plans in place that ensure the right people benefit?
Whether you are looking to write a Will, pre-arrange Probate services at a fixed cost, talk to the experts about setting up a Trust, nominate a Power of Attorney, or buy a prepaid funeral plan, you’ve come to the right place.
Whatever your needs; whether you want to read, review, compare, buy or talk to the experts, we can help you with it all and save you money at the same time.
These days an increasing number of people are choosing to protect their assets; basically their home, savings, shares, pensions and proceeds of life insurance policies as part of their estate planning.
Some asset protection trusts (the collective name used to describe a number of available trusts) are designed to protect your assets whilst you are still alive whereas others are designed to protect your estate when you die and are therefore often set up when you write a Will or at a later date.
Setting up a trust for your assets will give you reassurance, knowing that you and your family will benefit financially from the various legal resources available that can help minimise the impact of Inheritance Tax or perhaps local authority assessments, should you find yourself in a situation where you require the services of a care home.
How can we help?
Whether you choose to benefit from ongoing legal services support by becoming a member of Over50choices Legal Services or just need more immediate help, our Estate Planning Service provided by professionally qualified legal experts can help you:
- Make a Will – for a fixed price they will talk through and help draft a Will for yourself and if relevant for your partner
- Set up a Lasting Power of Attorney – Nominate a person with authority to act on your behalf in the event you need someone to manage your affairs
- Set up Trusts and advise on Inheritance Tax Planning - To ensure your financial affairs are managed in the most tax efficient manner
Members can also make sure legal documentation never gets lost by having it stored in a secure online vault and benefit from having regular free Will reviews and updates to ensure significant changes such as divorce or separation, marriage and children are taken into account.
Estate Planning is the only way that you can be sure the right people inherit the right things!
More details can be found in Wills and Probate; alternatively if you have any questions or prefer to talk through your options, please call our team of experts on 03332 406895.