Wills, inheritance and trusts

Good planning is key to ensuring the protection and smooth transition of assets and wealth from one generation to the next. Our specialists make certain that your property and possessions pass to those who you wish to benefit from them, as well advising on a range of other complex issues.

We assist individuals on wills and inheritance issues in a wide range of circumstances, including business owners, wealthy individuals with large estates, those with significant financial and property assets, and others looking to protect the future financial security of their loved ones.

Comprising experts in wills, tax, trusts, probate and estate planning, Harrison Drury can help you:

  • Make and update a will, including complex wills
  • Appoint executors and trustees to look after your estate
  • Put a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place to appoint someone to manage your financial affairs should you ever lack the mental capacity to do so
  • Nominate guardians and make financial provision for children under 16
  • Contest a will where reasonable provision has not been made

We have specific expertise in helping high-net-worth individuals to:

  • Prevent your family from paying unnecessary inheritance tax at the time of your death by making best use of trusts
  • Help you to protect your financial and property assets
  • Reduce the risk of claims from people you do not want to benefit
  • Deal with the administration of a large and complex estate

Our wills, inheritance, trust and estate solicitors offer the following specialist services:

Probate and estate administration

Probate is the act of dealing with a person’s assets after they have died. Harrison Drury is able to advise on all aspects of this process, from obtaining the grant of probate, to full administration of the estate and setting up any continuing trusts.

Our expert solicitors are used to dealing with estates involving complex assets, such as a business or agricultural property, or where there are other complicating factors, such as when assets are held overseas.

Contesting a will

Harrison Drury’s contentious wills and probate solicitors can advise those looking to contest a will on the grounds that insufficient provision has been made for them, or those on the receiving end of a claim.

Our expertise also includes challenging the validity of wills in a range of other scenarios, such as loss of capacity, financial misfeasance, fraud and forgery. We can obtain freezing injunctions, and other types of urgent court relief. We also act for children and vulnerable adults where we have replaced executors and trustees acting unlawfully.

Complex wills

Harrison Drury has experience in advising high-net-worth individuals on the writing of complex wills, particularly where trusts are used to reduce the tax impact of passing on property assets.

Our complex wills team also advises on the use of discretionary trusts where the person making the will doesn’t want the beneficiaries to inherit immediately, perhaps where they are too young. We also advise on the use of trusts for other family situations, perhaps where there has been a second marriage and there are children from the first relationship, where assets are held in different jurisdictions, or with issues relating to the domicile status of the person making the will.

Trusts and tax planning

For wealthier people, a will isn’t solely about ensuring the right people benefit from their estate when they die. Often there will be a range of other objectives, such as protecting their estate from having to pay for such things as local authority care home fees, divorce costs, or other unforeseen actions of beneficiaries.

All of these goals can be achieved by including carefully drafted trust provisions in the will and arranging for the appointment of suitable people to hold the estate as trustees. As well as advising on the trust provisions, our expert lawyers can also assist with the general administration of trusts and with ten-year anniversary charges, tax returns and trust accounts.

Lasting Powers of Attorney

People will often want to give another person authority to make a decision on their behalf should they ever lose the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves. A power of attorney is a legal document allowing them to do so.

There are two distinct types of Lasting Power of Attorney, one for property and financial affairs and one for health and welfare. We prepare both types and act as certificate provider, as well as arranging the registration of a Lasting Power of Attorney with the Office of the Public Guardian. Directors in the firm will act as attorneys for property and financial affairs.

Court of Protection matters

The Court of Protection exists to safeguard vulnerable people who lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves. These decisions may relate to the person’s finances or their health and welfare.

At Harrison Drury, we act in all matters that come before the court, including making statutory wills on someone else’s behalf; applications to become a court-appointed deputy; registration of and objections to powers of attorney; and making emergency applications for intervention or relief in respect of someone’s affairs.

Pensions

Under the recent liberalisation of the pension regime, there are now more opportunities to deal with any funds remaining in the pension upon death. However, one of those options still remains the setting up of pilot trusts during lifetime and putting part of the pension funds remaining on death into trust. At Harrison Drury our inheritance solicitors are able to advise individuals on the setting up of trusts that will enable the effective succession of pension wealth to loved ones.

Life assurance policies

It is possible to write life assurance policies into trust and this may benefit those with more significant wealth. Although many policy providers provide a simple form of trust this usually is not as flexible as creating a bespoke pilot trust during the person’s lifetime which would receive the life assurance proceeds on death and which can then be held on a full discretionary trust thereafter. Harrison Drury has a successful track record in advising individuals on the use of trusts for life assurance policies.