Will & Probate Solicitors
Our experts ensure your assets pass into the right hands
We appreciate it can be difficult to envisage a time when you’re not there to provide for your family and preparing a will can be the last thing on your mind.
Planning early, however, gives you and your family peace of mind so you can enjoy your time together in the present. With the expert guidance of our wills and probate solicitors, our clients find the process of preparing a will much less stressful than they anticipate.
Your will is the cornerstone of your succession planning. Not only will this document ensure that your assets pass to your chosen beneficiaries and family members, but also that this happens in the most practical and sensible way to protect your loved ones and your assets for the future.
We are one of only a few firms that have members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP); meaning our team practice and is recognised at the highest level in will writing.
If you would like to request a copy of a Will that we hold, you can find more information here
Wherever you are on your journey, our legal advisors can help. Call us today on 0330 024 0333 or use the button below to complete our contact form.
Our Will & Probate Team
How Our Will & Probate Experts Can Help
Bespoke written wills
Our solicitors can help you write a will to ensure that your money goes to the people you want it to go
Advising on a range of issues, from tax considerations to the use of protective trusts
Setting up of trusts & successions planning
In some circumstances a trust can be used to protect the assets for your own benefit, should you feel you need a helping hand in managing financially.
Appointing powers of attorney
We can also help you make a lasting power of attorney to give someone you trust the authority to make decisions on your behalf if you lose mental capacity later in life.
We can draft the necessary legal documentation, collect in and encash the assets and pay liabilities such as tax liabilities arising both during and after the death of your loved one.
Contesting a will
If you feel that a family member’s wishes have not been fulfilled, or you feel like you haven’t received what is rightfully yours, then our team of experts can support you on inheritance and trust disputes – however large or small.
Our Will Writing Services & Prices
At Shakespeare Martineau, we provide expert will writing services, below you can find our different will packages and their features. Whichever package you decide we always approach the writing of your will with sensitivity and compassion and impeccable attention to detail.
If you are interested in one of our packages complete our online will form below or call us on 0330 024 0333.
Our standard will
- Initial consultation and assessment with qualified lawyer
- Bespoke lawyer written will
- Review of existing will (if applicable)
- Discussion about current inheritance system
- Discussion on lasting powers of attorney
- Appointment of executors
- Appointment of guardians
- Monetary and specific legacies including charitable gifts
- Funeral wishes
- Documented explanation of clauses to accompany will
- Engrossment for signature
- Copy of will for records
- Free storage of original will
- Reminder to review your will every 3-5 years
Our bespoke will
- Everything that is included in our standard package, plus the following:
- Partner or legal director led service
- Calculation of current inheritance exposure
- Advice on lifetime giving
- Use of trusts for business assets (exempt assets)
- Setting up of trusts for vulnerable beneficiaries
- Setting up of life interest trusts
- Setting up of assets protection trusts
- Setting up of charitable trusts
- Bespoke letter of wishes
- Detailed letter of advice
- Discussion with specialists lawyers across Shakespeare Martineau to ensure the practicalities of your will can be put in place
Our premium will
- Everything that is included in our standard and bespoke packages, plus the following:
- Planning meetings to discuss structures
- Advice on potential claims to your estate
- Inheritance tax report to include ways to mitigate exposure
- Foreign assets and interaction of foreign wills
- Domicile and residency issues
- The features in the bespoke and premium packages are available as additional add ons by prior agreement for an additional fee
- All prices exclude VAT
- Members of our team follow the STEP will writing code and are members or solicitors for the elderly
- Considering making an online will? We've put together a guide on the considerations you should think about before going ahead - find out more here
Take Our Wills Questionnaire
Fill out our simple will questionnaire so we can provide you with the right advice on your will. It should take around 2-3 minutes to complete and once completed we will be in touch to discuss your requirements further!
Why Choose Us?
We have been awarded the STEP Platinum Employer Partner accreditation, the highest of three accreditation levels awarded under the STEP Employer Partnership Programme.
We are completely transparent with our pricing from the get-go. View our list of will packages and once you have been assigned a dedicated team you will be provided with a complete breakdown of costs.
An award-winning wills team, we provide you with a bespoke will.
What Our Clients Say About Us
Will & Probate Frequently Asked Questions
Making a will is the only way to ensure that your wishes in relation to your property and personal and financial affairs are carried out after your death.
It is also a great opportunity for personal tax planning and can ensure that valuable inheritance tax reliefs are available to your executors. It can also include trust structures that can be tailored to your intended beneficiaries’ particular needs, for example, if you have young children, vulnerable family members or you wish to benefit charitable causes long into the future.
Making a will also give you the freedom to appoint your executors, who will administer your estate and look after things for you when you’re no longer around. These could be family members, friends or professionals. Your executors have authority to deal with your estate immediately on your death, including making arrangements for your funeral.
If you have children under 18, you can also appoint guardians to look after them if you die and include this information as part of your will.
Having a will in place will give you and your family the peace of mind and certainty that your wishes will be followed on your death.
Initially, we will meet with you to discuss your financial and family position, as well as your wishes in respect of your estate. In the current climate with coronavirus, this meeting will be held via video conferencing or telephone.
Once you have decided how you would like your will to be structured, we will prepare draft documents and send them out to you to review, together with a summary of the matters discussed at the meeting and the advice given. We will answer any queries you may have and make any necessary amendments to the documents, before preparing the final will for your signature.
According to your preference, the final will can either be sent out to you with instructions for how to sign it to make it legally binding, or we can meet with you again to arrange for this to be signed with us. When the final will has been signed, we will store your will safely for you free of charge and provide you with a copy for your records.
Wills are personal documents and we, therefore, tailor them to fit your circumstances; when we know what the right will for you is, we can provide an accurate cost estimate.
Our costs for preparing a standard bespoke lawyer written will start at £550.
If you are looking to do an online will we have put together a guide on the considerations you should think about before going ahead – find out more here
Putting a will in place with us can be surprisingly quick and could be prepared in a matter of days. For example, should you need to make a will for health reasons, or because you are going abroad on holiday and want to put your affairs in order quickly, we will work with you to ensure your will is prepared before you leave.
Generally, we will produce a draft will for you within a week of our initial meeting, and once your draft will is approved, we will aim for you to sign it as soon as possible.
Without a will, you die intestate and your estate will be distributed in accordance with the rules of intestacy. The rules determine how your assets will be divided between your spouse/civil partner (if you have one), or other blood relatives in a strict priority order. These may not be the people you would want to inherit assets, particularly if you have difficult family relationships or are estranged from certain members of your family.
If you and your partner are not married or in a civil partnership, they will not benefit from your estate, even though you currently live together. Similarly, step-children and foster children cannot inherit under the rules of intestacy. If you have separated from a partner, but have not finalised a divorce or dissolution, then your spouse/civil partner will still stand to inherit, despite your separation. If you’re currently going through a divorce or separation then we can help and advice you on how to amend or draft your will to reflect these changes.
Dying without a will can often make the estate administration process more difficult, and lengthy, particularly if the family tree and line of succession is unclear and the whereabouts of certain family members is unknown. Your estate may also be liable to pay more inheritance tax than it might otherwise have needed to.
An administrator is a person(s) appointed by the court to deal with the deceased’s estate if they died without making a will.
Generally the property owned by the person who died. For example, a house, household goods, savings, investments, a car, etc.
A bequest is a gift of personal property made by a will other than land, such as an item of jewellery or a car.
The grant of probate is an important legal document that allows the person in charge (called the executor) to carry out the wishes of someone who has passed away. It confirms that the will is valid and gives the executor the power to gather the person’s belongings, settle any debts or taxes they owe, and distribute what’s left to the people mentioned in the will. This ensures that everything is done just as the deceased person wanted.
Probate is the process of obtaining the court’s permission to carry out the wishes within someone’s will, usually carried out by an executor. There are usually five steps involved in the process of probate:
1. Registering the death – This needs to be done via a registry office within five days on the death (the process will be faster if you use the registry office in the area where the person died). Once you have done this you will receive the ‘death certificate’.
2. Value the estate – The estate will need to be valued in order to understand the assets of the deceased, and to determine if any inheritance tax is due. List and value possessions and assets of the deceased, including any joint assets, as well as any gifts that may have been made within seven years of their death.
3. Pay any inheritance tax due – Inheritance tax needs to be paid on estates valued at over £325,000 using an IHT400 form. Even if the value of the estate is below the threshold, you will still need to complete an inheritance tax form (IHT205 tax form) confirming this.
4. File the probate application – This can be done either online or using paper forms. More information of the forms that needs completing, along with guidance for each method, can be found on the gov.uk website.
5. Pay any probate fees – If the value of the estate is over £5,000 then the application fee is £273. There’s no probate fee if the estate is £5,000 or less.
Once the grant of probate has been received, you can then begin the process of settling the deceased’s estate.
You may not need to apply for probate if there is a will, however, you will usually need probate to deal with an estate that includes property. As a named executor in a decreased person’s will, applying for probate will give you the authority to distribute the estate (including any property) according to the instructions in that will.
As the grant of probate provides the executor(s) with the authority to proceed with distributing the assets within an estate (including any property), then, a sale of a house cannot be completed before the grant of probate is obtained
As each individual case is different (with varying factors and levels of complexities), there is no ‘set amount’ that a solicitor will charge for probate. However, the fee is usually calculated as a % of the value of the estate. Get in touch with a member of our probate team for an estimate of how much probate costs may be.
How The Will & Probate Process Works
Not everyone is aware of how the process of engaging Will & Probate solicitors works, so we’ve provided an overview below to give you some peace of mind
The first stage is to get in touch with us using the button below – you will then be assigned to one of our Will & Probate specialists. Alternatively, you can reach us on 0330 024 0333.
You’ll then receive a free 15-minute consultation within 24 hours via Zoom or telephone to discuss the issues you’re facing.
You are then provided with a transparent breakdown of our costs and, if you would like to proceed, we send you a pack of onboarding documents
Following this, we will guide and support you through the process of achieving a resolution that works for you and your family.
Our Other Will & Probate Services
Inheritance & Trusts Disputes
If you feel that a family member’s wishes have not been fulfilled, or you haven’t received what is rightfully yours, our specialist team can help you resolve your dispute, whether that is through mediation or negotiation, or court proceedings.
Powers of Attorney
No matter what age you are, making considerations about how your financial affairs and medical needs will be met if you lose capacity in the future is important. We can help you put a plan in place that works for you and gives you peace of mind.
Wherever you are on your journey, our Will & Probate specialists are here to answer any questions you might have
If you’d like to speak to a member of our team, please fill out the enquiry form. We will aim to reply to your query within 2 hours
Need to talk to someone sooner? You can call use at the number below
Call Us: 0330 024 0333
Our Latest Will & Probate Updates
For the individual
The importance of making a will: changes to statutory legacy from 26 July 2023
For the individual
Grief and money – a powerful combination
Considering recent changes in charity law – permanent endowment, charity land and names
For the individual