Wills and trusts

When it comes to the process of drafting a will, it’s vital that you have absolute faith and confidence in your solicitors. You are, after all, sharing your deepest concerns and wishes for the future. For this reason we invite you to come in for a free initial meeting to talk to us and ensure that you feel comfortable with us handling these sensitive affairs.

Will Questionnaire

Alternatively you can complete the Will Questionnaire and email or post it to us.

This form has everything you need to prepare your will in full, including managing your tax liability. Please note that in some circumstances, however, it may be necessary or advisable to supplement your replies over the telephone or at the office before the will is drafted.

On receipt of your completed questionnaire, we will prepare a draft will for your approval before arranging for engrossed copies to be prepared for you to sign before two independent witnesses.

If you live locally in Fulham or Chelsea your property interests alone are likely to create a serious liability for inheritance tax. Making a will is the only way to ensure that the Inland Revenue receives as little of your estate as it is legally entitled to.

It is also the only certain way to ensure that your spouse, partner, family and loved ones inherit according to your wishes. This is particularly vital where there has been a second marriage and extended families to provide for.

Woodfords has particular expertise in inheritance tax planning. As well as reducing the tax burden on your survivors, through your will you can:

  • provide for your partner if you are not married or in a civil partnership
  • safeguard the interests of your children by appointing legal guardians to care for them if you and your spouse should have an accident. You can specify what age your children should inherit and who should administer their entitlement until this time
  • protect your business interests and direct them in such a way as to benefit from business property relief
  • ensure that family heirlooms remain within the family and leave gifts to friends and family
  • help your favourite cause through a tax-free donation to charity
  • set out any wishes regarding your funeral

It is very distressing for a family to have to handle an estate where there is no will. In these instances only £250,000 worth of assets will pass to your spouse if you have children and your other possessions will be distributed according to intestacy rules.

If you have already made a will it is vital to keep all affairs under review to stay on top of any changes in circumstances and any alterations to taxation laws. We strongly recommend that you ask us to review your will every five years.

We can also advise you on specialist trust schemes such as:

  • Employee Benefit Trusts
  • Family Trading Trusts for Land Deals

A trust is a transfer of assets for the benefit of others. It can take immediate effect, by way of a trust deed, or it can be incorporated into your will to take effect shortly after your death.

We frequently advise high-net-worth clients on the use of trusts to meet a number of strategic objectives, such as:

  • controlling assets which you no longer need yourself. This reduces your own wealth and consequently your exposure to inheritance tax
  • addressing concerns regarding children or grandchildren inheriting too much too young
  • placing assets into a family trust to protect them from bankruptcy or divorce
  • providing your spouse with a life interest in your assets rather than an absolute interest. This protects the assets from being frittered away or gifted should your spouse remarry

Your residence or domicile status can have a significant impact on your tax liabilities, particularly inheritance tax. If you have an interest in living overseas then we can advise on the best solution according to your unique circumstances.

Recent work undertaken

  • Advising and negotiating with HMRC in relation to the rearrangement of the family company structures in respect of business property relief
  • Advising on the change of domicile to mitigate inheritance tax on death
  • Advising on a family dispute in relation to the tracing of assets over a period of 30 years that led to a constructive trust claim in the High Court

What it will cost

We are happy to have an initial discussion over the phone regarding international matters free of charge. After that we will charge a consultation fee if a meeting is required. During this we will endeavour to provide a fixed price quotation for our services and clear guidance on any further costs. The consultation fee will usually be deducted from the overall legal costs.

What our clients say

“Always found Woodfords Solicitors to be efficient, professional and friendly and this was again confirmed when we recently updated our wills with them.”
“Woodfords have provided my will and helped me with some business matters. I have always found them reasonably priced and pleasant to deal with. They are clear and efficient and I would have no hesitation in using them again and recommending them to others.”
“Woodfords provided detailed advice on the unwinding of historical trust structures that no longer achieve their objective from a cost perspective. Sometimes simplicity really is a virtue.”

Further information

Woodfords is a member of:

  • The Probate Section of the Law Society
  • The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP)
  • Solicitors for the Elderly
  • Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS)