Our Ilford office works with our Wills and Probate team to provide you with an efficient, friendly and approachable legal service
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.
Private client expertise
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.
Our Wills & Probate team has you covered
Our private client department can help you and your family with:
- Lasting Powers of Attorney,
- Deeds of Variation,
- Court of Protection,
- Trust Deeds, and
- Trust Administration
More about the services offered by our Wills and Probate team
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
Trustees have many responsibilities, duties and accountabilities. We can help you with the correct administration of your Trust.
Who runs the Wills and Probate team?
The Cunningtons Wills & Probate 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 Ilford
131 Cranbrook Rd
Tel: 020 8553 0002
Fax: 020 8553 1003
Bryony Wilmshurst is head of Wills & Probate and partner in charge of our Braintree branch.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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 factsheet.
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.
Yes, we can act as Executors for you. Professional Executors will charge for acting.
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.
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.
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.
We would strongly advise against drafting your own Will or downloading a pro-forma on line.
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 a Will professionally drafted.
We can store your original Will free of charge in our Strong Room. We will only release it to you during your lifetime upon receipt of your identification, to your Attorney in the event of loss of mental capacity if you have authorised your Attorney to have access to your Will under your Lasting Power of Attorney or to your Executors on your death upon receipt of your original Death Certificate and the identification and authority of all your Executors.