Estates Planning

Only one third of the general population make a will. This can create serious difficulty for your family depending on your circumstances, potentially disinheriting children or dependent relatives or creating tax problems for your family after your death. We can advise and guide you through the whole range of issues from nursing care to death and beyond to ensure your wishes are honoured and your loved ones taken care of.

Ensure your loved ones are properly cared for after your death. We will assist you in maximising your inheritance tax reliefs post death, ensure your assets benefit those you wish to protect while also planning to protect against challenge by those who would seek to misappropriate your assets for their own ends.

Timely Advice

Failure to think through and properly plan your affairs to protect your loved ones can lead to serious and unintended consequences. The law in this area was in large part settled in the 1950s when the world was a much different place and the nature of the word “family “ had only one meaning in common parlance. The law has not kept pace with changing needs and social mores.It is therefore essential that you conduct an appropriate and thorough examination of your affairs and assets and think through what you wish to be done with those assets upon death. It is often thought that this is a simple process but deeper consideration can throw up some very difficult issues. For example:

What happens to the assets of yourself and your partner if you both die in a common accident? What if one of you should survive the other by a short period? If you are in a second relationship , with you and your partner having had children by previous relationships how will you provide for each other and for them ? Can you trust your partner to provide for those children after you are gone in an equitable fashion. Careful planning and discussion is essential. Consideration must also be given in the current climate to how well diversified your assets are. We will take a broad view of your asset base and advise you as to where we see the risks. Issues often arise with:

Concerns about inheritance tax and confusion over the 7 year rule

Divorcing or bankrupt children

Risk of nursing care and substantial financial costs associated destroying value for the next generation

Feckless or grasping relatives

Disputes over division of assets between children threatening family breakdown

Undue and improper pressure to transfer assets in life potentially creating significant and otherwise avoidable tax liabilities

Second relationships

We can guide you through all these issues.

Administration of Estates

This can be an extremely contentious area, even where a will has been made. When clients have divorced prior to death but left minor children and were in new relationships discretion is required. Often there are disputes concerning who has control of assets for minor children.

We will seek to minimise dispute while protecting minor beneficiaries and focus on the objective of efficient administration allied to beneficiary protection and minimisation of cost while addressing inheritance tax issues at an early stage and ensuring a smooth transition of assets to your beneficiaries.

  • Divorces

  • Provisions for Grandchildren

  • Disabled Children

  • Inheritance Tax

  • Family Disputes

Claims Against Estates

Disappointed beneficiaries are often left in a difficult position when a deceased person fails to properly address their needs in their will. The dependent may have provided years of care without any recognition despite assurances from the deceased to the contrary. In many cases, children will have acted on promises made by their parents over the years with the details fading or becoming confused through the passing of the years. Recognition of the issues and asserting a claim at an early stage is essential. Act swiftly to protect your interests, as time limits in these cases pose serious difficulties for late claims.The nature and extent of the acts and the promises on which they are based is almost always contentious and it is essential such claims are properly formulated at an early stage.Given that the detail flows from issues occuring over many years and these issues tend to be emotive early considered legal advice is essential .Paul McMullan has taken additional professional qualifications in this area and is well placed to adivse you on the appropriate steps to take to protect your position.

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Contact our professional will solicitors today, in Ballynahinch, County Down, to discover more about estate planning.