Solicitors Advocates
Solicitors Advocates

Private Client

Court of Protection

In the event of the failing mental health of an individual, we can act in connection with concerned family and friends with applications to the Court of Protection for the appointment of a Deputy who is then empowered to deal with the property and the affairs of that person and to make certain decisions for that individual. As a Deputy that person stands in the shoes of the individual concerned and must act in his/her best interests and in accordance with the Mental Capacity Act 2005. In the absence of anyone else, we ourselves can act as Deputies if required.

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If there are concerns over influencers affecting the decision making of a vulnerable individual, it is important that steps are taken to look into the possibility of appointing a Deputy as soon as possible to prevent any possible abuse.

Being a Deputy comes with considerable responsibility, and as a Deputy you may need advice as to how you should deal with your position.

Elderly Client Services

As we become older, managing our financial affairs can appear more complicated, and some of the most routine tasks such as paying bills, opening or closing bank accounts and arranging appropriate insurance can gradually become increasingly stressful and confusing.

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At Hatten Wyatt we pride ourselves on providing sensitive, accurate and professional advice to the elderly and offer a dedicated service in order to meet the needs of this expanding generation as and when they arise.

There are many areas we can assist you with, including:

  • Wills
  • Court of Protection
  • Lasting Powers of Attorney
  • Probate
  • Registering Enduring Powers of Attorney
  • Tax Planning
  • Contested Probate
  • Trusts
  • Professional Trustees

If you would like to know more about these services, please contact our private client department who will be more than happy to assist you with any queries you may have

Power of Attorney (POA)

Powers of Attorney allow an individual, company or partnership to donate their power to do something to another person or corporate body.
However, in day to day life these are used by individuals to allow others to deal with their affairs whether personal or business in their absence. There are three different types of powers of attorney:

  • a general power of attorney to deal with financial affairs
  • a lasting power of attorney to deal with financial affairs and property
  • a lasting power of attorney to deal with health and welfare

Read more about Power of Attorney (POA)

The general power of attorney is ideal where it is required for a specific task or for a short time period, for example an extended spell in hospital may require power of attorney to be granted so financial matters can be dealt with on your behalf. The general power of attorney ceases to have any validity should the person who created it lose their mental capacity. If a personal power of attorney is required to be in effect for a long period of time, then we would recommend a lasting power of attorney. If you feel that you would like to look into appointing Power of Attorney but do not feel you have anyone you could trust to uphold this responsibility, there is always the option of appointing one of our Partners here as the recipient should you wish.

LPA

There are two types of LPA, namely a Financial Decisions LPA, which allows your Attorney to deal with your property and finances as you specify, and a Health and Care Decisions LPA, which allows your Attorney to make health and care decisions on your behalf. This could also extend, if you wished, to giving or refusing consent to life sustaining treatment.

You can appoint more than one Attorney to act together (jointly) or together and/or separately (jointly and severally). You may also choose to appoint a replacement to your Attorneys in case they die or otherwise cannot act for you.

The Attorney shall only be able to act when the document has been signed by both you and your Attorney and certified by a Certificate Provider, who shall confirm that you understand the nature of the Power of Attorney, that there has been no pressure placed upon you and that you are mentally capable of signing the document. The Certificate Provider could either be a good friend or a professional, for example a Solicitor or General Practitioner.

The document must then be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used. The Financial Decisions LPA can be used both when you have capacity to act as well as if you can no longer make financial decisions. The Health and Care Decisions LPA can only be used if you lack the mental capacity to make welfare or medical decisions.


EPA

Some clients may have Enduring Powers of Attorney, which have now been replaced by Lasting Power of Attorney, however if your EPA was made and signed before 1st October 2007 it is still perfectly valid. However, an Enduring Power of Attorney gives no authority in respect of health and care decisions and you may wish to consider making a Health and Care Decisions LPA.

If you do not have Enduring Power of Attorney or Lasting Power of Attorney in place, then instead of a simple registration procedure, a formal application to the Court must be made in the event of you becoming mentally incapable of managing your affairs. The Court shall appoint a Deputy to look after your affairs, who would normally be a relative or close friend. The Court proceedings can be lengthy, complicated and expensive, and cause anxiety and inconvenience to your relatives. It is therefore, most important that you consider setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney rather than relying on the appointment of a Deputy.

If you require any further information then please feel to contact our private client department.

If you require any further information on the different options available or the processes involved, then please feel to contact our private client department

Probate

The period following a person’s death can be a traumatic and emotional time. The last thing on your mind is the administration of the deceased’s estate. We understand that being an executor has heavy responsibilities and can be legally difficult. We can relieve you of the burden of administering the deceased’s estate, so as to ensure that the process runs as smoothly as possible.

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At Hatten Wyatt our private client department deals with the administration of the deceased’s estate, whether a will was made or not. Where a will had been made, the executors are named, and if they accept their appointment then they are responsible for dealing with the administration of the estate including executing the provisions of the will and can do this alone or with our help and guidance.

If no will has been left then this responsibility falls with the chosen administrators. Our private client department is able to use its knowledge to assist executors in this task or to be the administrators of the estate ourselves; making sure that the estate is distributed amongst the rightful beneficiaries. We are able to give expert advice putting your best interests first. For instance we can advise on ways in which inheritance tax may be saved (for example a post death variation of the will). Dealing with the probate in any other way risks losing this significant benefit and potentially resulting in the estate paying more inheritance tax.

The executors’ appointment in most cases will require a grant of representation for them to act formally on behalf of the estate, and we can help prepare the grant where we are not the executors. Proof of probate is often required for assets of over £10,000.00 when dealing with the collection of assets from banks and other financial institutes, life assurance companies and estate agents if selling a property. Where we act as the executors, we will register the death as well as organise the funeral having taken into consideration any wishes the deceased may have had, as well as the family.

It is the executors’ responsibility to ensure that the assets of the deceased are gathered in, any liabilities are discharged including any inheritance tax which may be payable, before distributing the estates either in accordance with the will or in accordance with the rules of intestacy.

The inheritance tax forms can be complex, and whilst HM Revenue and Customs is more than willing to give guidance on the completion of the forms, this can result in the lay person/non-professional executor unfortunately paying more inheritance tax.

We usually administer the estate on behalf of the executors or administrators where there is no valid will. In this case, we shall efficiently deal with the administration of the deceased, which may include money, property, possessions owned by them, by collecting all monies, paying any debts and tax due and then dividing the estate amongst the beneficiaries. This involves dealing with the banks, building societies and other financial institutions connected with the person who has died. Furthermore, if the deceased owned a property and this property has to be sold or transferred, we can provide expert advice and assistance in regards to this.

Once we have full details of the assets and liabilities in the estate, we can then prepare the necessary paperwork for the Grant of Probate (or a Grant of Letters of Administration in cases where the deceased left no will), so we can efficiently administer the estate.

We can also effectively deal with any tax implications of the deceased’s estate. Inheritance Tax must be accurately declared to the H M Revenue & Customs in a detailed account and the correct tax paid before beneficiaries receive their entitlement from the estate.

At the end of this process, we shall prepare a detailed account, so as to illustrate exactly how the estate has been distributed, so you can see the deceased’s estate has been property administered.

In brief we will;

  • act on behalf of relatives removing much of the work they would have needed to have undertaken
  • obtain a Grant of Probate from the court and ensure that the terms of the will are followed
  • if there is no will, obtain a Grant of Letters of Administration for the next of kin and distribute the estate in accordance with the intestacy rules
  • ensure all tax implications are considered and effectively dealt with
  • act as speedily and efficiently as possible to minimise any difficult problems

If you would like us to administer an estate on your behalf, or would like any further information, please do not hesitate to contact our private client department.

Contested Probate

Although wills are vital documents for an individual to have, unfortunately there are occasions where their execution can become complicated due to contesting of the content. Typical disputes over a Will can arise regarding whether the Will itself is valid and was executed using the correct procedures, whether the amounts left to beneficiaries are fair or whether the executors of the estate have administered it fairly.

At Hatten Wyatt, our experienced and approachable solicitors can assess your situation and provide practical advice, informing you of the best action to take and offering guidance regarding possible outcomes and how you may be affected.

Strict time limits do apply when contesting a will so please ensure if you do require assistance you contact our team as soon as possible.

Professional Trustees

If you have young children it is possible to appoint guardians and place your estate into a trust for your children managed by trustees of your choice. Here at Hatten Wyatt we have experience in acting as professional trustees to ensure that the trust is managed effectively and ensuring that your wishes are followed.

Read more about Professional Trustees

The Partners have many years of experience acting as professional trustees for family trusts, whether these are lifetime trusts or will trusts. In addition to acting as trustees in a professional capacity, our private client department also advises other trustees on their duties as trustees, including the preparation of the trust accounts, documentation and compliance procedures.

If you are contemplating setting up a lifetime or will trust, then consideration must be given as to who you are going to appoint as the trustees. Obviously, they need to be someone that you can trust and someone who will adhere to the terms of trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries. Whilst non-solicitors can be appointed as trustees, we have found that unless a professional trustee is appointed who has a professional duty to deal with the trusts, other non-solicitor/professional trustees may lose interest, especially if the trust is likely to run for years as in the case of trust for minors.

We can advise you on the following areas:

  • Trustee obligations, duties and powers
  • Trust deeds including preparation
  • Trust management
  • Trust assets, sale and purchase
  • Trust tax accounts and administration
  • Advice on interpretation of trust deeds and will trusts
  • Advice on defending legal action against the trust including contested probate claims

If we can be of any assistance, please contact our private client department

Tax Planning

Our Tax Planning solicitors are able, on request, to provide advice to minimise potential tax liabilities in respect of inheritance tax through detailed inheritance tax planning. The type of scheme which may be of benefit to you will be explored and discussed with you at our initial consultation meeting. For those with assets of high values, we will in conjunction with counsel and other experts review the potential schemes which you may be able to benefit from, in order to limit any potential inheritance tax liability.

Read more about Tax Planning

It is important to remember that HM Revenue & Customs are constantly changing the rules and therefore any scheme which is set up for you needs to be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that it remains valid and to see if anything further can be done to lessen the potential inheritance tax liability.

It is possible to reduce the potential inheritance tax liability even following the deceased’s death through a variation of the will or of the distribution under the rules of intestacy. This needs to be done within two years from the date of death. Under a variation of the will or of the distribution under the intestacy rules, the beneficiary varies his/her entitlement so that the estate is distributed in a more tax efficient manner.

It is the executor’s legal responsibility to ensure that inheritance tax forms which are filed are correct and that the correct amount of tax is paid, but at the same time the executors owe a duty of care to ensure that the beneficiaries receive the maximum amount which they can from the deceased’s estate. Thus the executors could be found responsible in their duties to the beneficiaries if they have not considered maximising any potential saving from inheritance tax via variations.

Where executors are acting without legal representation, they can seek advice from our private client department as to whether or not there are any potential inheritance tax savings possible and for us to carry out the associated legal and inheritance tax work.

If you have a Will incorporating a nil rate band discretionary trust in order to minimise potential inheritance tax liability, such a trust may no longer be appropriate in view of changes to the relevant inheritance tax rules. In such a case, your Will may require to be changed and such a trust may be “undone” even after death subject to certain conditions.

Contact us today for guidance, information or peace of min

Trusts

If you have young children it is possible to appoint guardians and place your estate into a trust for your children managed by trustees of your choice. Here at Hatten Wyatt we have experience in acting as professional trustees to ensure that the trust is managed effectively and ensuring that your wishes are followed.

Read more about Trusts

Hatten Wyatt have over a century’s experience in dealing with trusts and trust law. The Partners of Hatten Wyatt act as professional trustees for a great number of trusts. There are a various types of trusts, including secret trusts. However, the most common types of trusts are Will trusts and lifetime settlement trusts. When setting up a trust, the legal document is either the Will or the trust deed under which the settlor (the person at whose request it is set up) places assets (property, stocks, shares or cash) into the trust, which is then managed by the trustee(s) in accordance with the terms of the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries.

The lifetime settlement trust comes into effect immediately and can be used as a tax efficient vehicle for transferring assets to children who would ultimately benefit from the settlor’s estate, but whilst ensuring that the trust is managed for their benefit until a particular event, such as getting married or reaching a particular age above majority. Once the assets are settled in a lifetime trust, the settlor no longer has any interest in the assets and the trustees become the legal owners of those assets and have responsibility to manage those assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries of the trust.

Will trusts are set up upon the settlor’s death in accordance with the provisions within the Will. Will trusts are often used when the settlor does not have sufficient assets to settle a lifetime trust for the beneficiaries, so the Will trust places the assets into a trust on the settlor’s death for example children under the age of majority which is then managed by the trustees until the beneficiaries reach a certain age above majority, in accordance with terms of the trust.

It is also possible to provide someone, such as a husband or wife or civil partner with a lifetime interest in a trust with some other party(ies) such as children having the beneficial interest in the trust. In these cases, the husband or wife or civil partner, would be entitled to enjoy the income of the trust, whilst the capital is preserved for the children, which they would receive when the life interest came to an end.

The different types of trusts have different tax consequences and consequently advice should be sought from professionals before setting up a trust. There also various purposes for setting up a trust, from providing for an elderly relation to children or someone suffering from a disability. If you are providing for young children (particularly, but not only, your own) or perhaps grandchildren, trusts are essential to ensure that funds are properly managed until the children are old enough to assume responsibility themselves

If your family set up is a little more complicated and you have step children or children from a previous relationship as well as your partner or spouse to consider, a trust may be vital in ensuring everyone is adequately cared for.

You may wish to provide for a relative, who is disabled or bankrupt or going through a divorce. A trust can help them receive the most benefit from you either during your lifetime or in the event of your death.

Another invaluable part of tax planning is the making of lifetime gifts, frequently but not exclusively, for the benefit of your children. A properly constituted and managed trust may be essential here.

We can advise you on the use of trusts in a variety of situations and assist you in their implementation and management. We can advise you on the type and terms of the trust, what powers are needed and who shall make the best trustees.

With any trust, the appointment of the correct trustees is vital, and those who understand the legal implications along with fiduciary duties are to be the trustees of choice. Here at Hatten Wyatt, our experience in managing trusts for the benefit of the beneficiaries has been proven over the years. Given the specialist rules which surround trusts, legal advice and guidance should be sought at the outset.

Whether you want to set up a trust or are a current trustee and would like some help with the running of a trust, one of our solicitors will be able to assist you.

The creation of a Trust in your Will is a frequently used and invaluable tool for various methods of Inheritance Tax mitigation.

At Hatten Wyatt, we can advise on various types of trusts. Our services can include the appointment of ourselves as trustees and we would, in that event, administer and manage the trust in the best interest of the beneficiaries.

Whether you would like to set up a trust or are a current trustee and would like some assistance with the running of an existing trust, one of our Solicitors shall be able to assist you

Wills

Not yet got around to making your Will? You are not alone as it has been estimated that seven out of ten people have yet to make a Will. But is this really something you can ignore?
If you do not have a Will, the Government decides who inherits your assets under the Laws of Intestacy (1925) which may not reflect your wishes.

Read more about Wills

These strict rules of intestacy may mean that your assets do not go where you would wish them to, for instance, unmarried partners could be excluded entirely, or if married (or in a civil partnership) and you have children, then the rules of intestacy could lead to your children taking some of your estate at the expense of your spouse or civil partner. Disputes over Wills divide families and are costly and upsetting to resolve. Preparing a Will is especially important if you have children as you can name guardians to look after them. It also enables you to appoint Executors and Trustees, to deal with your affairs following your death. As long as you have the mental capacity to change your Will, you are able to do so at any time and as many times as you like.

It is possible for anyone to prepare their own Will but this can be risky as your language may be misinterpreted or it may not be correctly executed. In these scenarios there are often more problems caused than by having no Will at all and they can be costly to resolve. Our team of Will experts can help you prepare your Will to ensure that your assets are dealt with by persons of your choice, and all important factors are taken into consideration such as Inheritance Tax. In the absence of knowing a suitable person to appoint, it is possible we ourselves can be appointed as executors and trustees of a Will should you so wish, as acting as an Executor is not an easy task and it is time consuming, and at a time when your Executor may be grieving

Get in Touch Today

Hatten Wyatt: Solicitors & Advocates

51/54 Windmill Street

Gravesend

Kent

DA12 1BD

phone Number

01474 35 11 99

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