We know that planning your life and estate is important to both you and your family; that is why we provide comprehensive advice about your options and the likely consequences.

We always aim to work with our clients in a personable and stress-free way and to communicate your options and outcomes in plain English.

Experts in working with private clients

The solicitors in our Wills & Probate department are Dementia Friends, and have strong links within the local community. They have years’ experience of dealing with vulnerable clients and their families, so you can be sure they are dealt with in a kind and caring way.

The Chelmsford Wills & Probate team has you covered

Our Chelmsford private client department can help you and your family with:

More about the services offered by our Wills and Probate team

Probate

Dealing with someone’s estate can be complex and stressful, especially as it is such a difficult time anyway. There are time limits to observe, tax allowances to be claimed (or otherwise lost), tax to be reclaimed, assets to be protected, and legal responsibilities to HMRC, the Probate Court and the estate in general.

We can use our knowledge and experience to help guide you through this legal maze.

Writing Wills

Getting our affairs in order with a correctly drafted Will can avoid a lot of additional stress when we are gone. It is already a difficult time, and taking some of the stress away from your friends and family with a valid Will is a great help.

A carefully drafted Will can:

  • avoid tax allowances being reduced or lost;
  • make use of any charitable exemptions, whilst at the same time potentially reducing the rate of inheritance tax paid;
  • ringfence assets for children; and
  • be used to protect vulnerable family members.

Reading about what happens if you die without a Will (the Rules of Intestacy) may inspire you to write one.

GET IN TOUCH

To contact us about any of our legal services including Family Law or Wills and Probate,
just complete this form so we can get back to you.

  • * required fields

Lasting Powers of Attorney

Lasting Power of Attorney is your choice as to who will manage both your financial affairs and personal welfare if you are unable to do this job yourself.

Talk to us about why having a Power of Attorney in place is important and what benefits they provide you with.

Deeds of Variation

The use of a Deed of Variation to redirect assets received from an estate could provide you a very powerful tool when it comes to your planning for Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Stamp Duty Land Tax and family intergeneration Tax.

The Deed of Variation is entirely tailored to fit your circumstances and there are rules to be observed for a Deed of Variation to work, so expert advice is a must.

Court of Protection

Losing mental capacity throws up all sorts of challenges if there is no Power of Attorney in place.

Braintree Wills & probate

Issues such as

  • who will administer the finances,
  • how they obtain legal authority to do so,
  • what can and cannot be done when it comes to making gifts, managing investments,
  • as well as the day to day administration,

are thrown up.

Our Private Client lawyers have a wealth of experience in helping you with your legal and administrative duties and have been Court-appointed Deputies.

Trust Deeds

A carefully-drafted Trust Deed can be used as an agreement between partners as to who will get what back if your home has to be sold due to separation.

Trusts have other useful functions which may help protect your family from third parties and tax.

Trust administration

Trustees have many responsibilities, duties and accountabilities. We can help you with the correct administration of your Trust.

GET IN TOUCH

To contact us about any of our legal services including Family Law or Wills and Probate,
just complete this form so we can get back to you.

  • * required fields

Who runs the Chelmsford Wills & Probate team?

The team is headed by partner Bryony Wilmshurst, who is amongst her other roles a Solicitor for the Elderly and a Dementia Friend Champion. You can read more about Bryony here.

Cunningtons Solicitors in Chelmsford

141 New London Rd
Chelmsford
Essex
CM2 0QT
United Kingdom

Tel: 01245 264494
Fax: 01245 494537

chelmsford-reception@cunningtons.co.uk

Team spotlight

Bryony Wilmshurst, Head of Wills & Probate

Bryony Wilmshurst

Partner and Solicitor

Bryony Wilmshurst is head of Wills & Probate at Cunningtons, and is also partner in charge of our Braintree branch.

You can read more about Bryony by clicking here.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is a Will?

A Will is a legal document which sets out what you would like to happen to your assets in the event of your death, who you would like to administer your estate, who you would like to look after your children and your funeral wishes.

Do I need a Will?

If you are over the age of 18, have assets or children a Will is the only way to ensure that your wishes will be carried out in the event of your death.

We are a couple, can we have a joint Will?

Joint Wills are very rare and problematic these days. It is more usual to have Mirror Wills which is where you each have a Will but on similar terms.

It is important to bear in mind that with Mirror Wills once you have left your estate to your partner, your partner is then free to do whatever he or she wishes with your assets, they could leave what they have inherited from you to a new partner.

For more information please see Asset Protection Trust.

What is an Executor?

An Executor is a person who will administer your estate in accordance with the terms of your Will, they will complete relevant tax returns and apply for the Grant of Probate before collecting in the assets and distributing them to your beneficiaries.

An Executor can be anyone over the age of 18, it is important that you appoint not only someone that you trust but someone who is capable of handling the administration of your estate in what is likely to be an emotional and stressful time.

Before appointing an Executor you may wish to discuss the matter with the person or persons involved to ensure they are willing to be named as Executor in your Will, although this is not essential and as the Will is personal to you, you might not wish to disclose details to an Executor.

If you appoint someone other than your Solicitor and they refuse to carry out the duties after your death then problems could arise.

Can I have Cunningtons as my Executors?

Yes, we can act as Executors for you. Professional Executors will charge for acting.

What is a Guardian?

A Guardian is a person or people who will look after your children in the event of your death, they will be responsible for bringing up your children.

How often should I review my Will?

A Will should be reviewed whenever your personal or financial circumstances change significantly or if your beneficiaries’ circumstances change significantly. We recommend that you review your Will at least every five years to ensure it still accords with your wishes and is still appropriate for your circumstances.

How long does the process of writing a Will take?

Upon receipt of your instructions, we aim to send you a draft of your Will for your approval within 7 days. If there are no unforeseen circumstances it is likely that your Will will be signed within a month of us receiving instructions from you.

Can I draft a Will myself or download it from the internet?

We would strongly advise against drafting your own Will or downloading a pro-forma online.

There is an increasing amount of litigation that arises from incorrectly drafted Wills, often Wills drafted by people who are not legally qualified do not do what the person drafting them thinks they do which can cause significant problems and delays in the event of your death.

Often, it ends up costing far more to rectify any errors than the cost of having a Will professionally drafted in the first place.