Wills & Probate Solicitors
Our expert wills and probate solicitors can help you to put the necessary measures in place to protect your wealth and provide for your family in the future. Whether you are planning for the future or have recently lost a loved one, we can advise on the appropriate next steps for you to take.
Headed by respected solicitor Mark Cotson, our legal experts are experienced and highly qualified, meaning we can help you to ensure your wishes are met regarding what happens to your assets once you have died.
We have been providing legal advice to people across the Wirral, Liverpool and further afield for more than a century, and we pride ourselves on offering a cost-effective and dedicated service.
Speak to our probate solicitors about your circumstances today by calling 0151 666 9090, or complete our online enquiry form and we will contact you at a time that is convenient for you.
How can our wills and probate solicitors help you?
The complex nature of wills, probate and estate planning can leave your loved ones facing difficult and complicated legal challenges if you fail to take appropriate action. It is important that you have the correct measures in place to ensure that your estate is in order after you die.
At Percy Hughes & Roberts, we can help with the following:
Our wills and probate solicitors have a wealth of experience in helping executors through what can be a difficult time, dealing with estate administration on their behalf to simplify the process. Whether there is a will in place or not, we promise to assist you in sorting out the financial affairs in question and help you through the process of dividing the estate among those who are entitled to it.
For those with a large estate, our specialist solicitors can also provide Inheritance Tax planning services, to help you ensure that the beneficiaries of your will receive as much of the value of your estate as possible. Expert legal advice when making a will can help to avoid probate disputes and ensure that your final wishes are fulfilled, while minimising the risk of any conflict among your beneficiaries.
Why choose our wills and probate solicitors?
By choosing the wills and probate solicitors at Percy Hughes & Roberts to handle your estate administration, you can rest assured that you are in safe hands when planning for the future. We are committed to delivering a personal service to the highest standard, and have been providing expert legal advice for more than a century.
Our team of experienced wills and probate solicitors based in the Wirral delivers an excellent service to clients throughout the region, including Liverpool, the Merseyside area and across the North West. We have the expertise to advise executors on all aspects of the probate process, and to support testators in preparing a will that is thorough, secure and legally binding.
We hold a number of industry accreditations, including Lexcel, the Law Society's quality standard. This means we are recognised for providing effective legal services to our clients.
What is probate?
Probate is the term that is used to describe the process of administering an estate after someone has died. This includes:
- Valuing the estate
- Collecting the value of their assets and possessions
- Paying any outstanding debts or taxes due on the estate
- Distributing inheritance to the people outlined in the deceased’s will
What is estate planning?
Estate planning is the process of ensuring that everything you own - known as your ‘estate’ - is structured in the best possible way.
Our estate planning solicitors can:
- Help you to ensure you are not paying unnecessary amounts of tax on your assets, which could leave your family facing a large tax bill after you die
- Assist in the protection of assets in a divorce or period of financial difficulty
- Help you to choose the right person to administer your estate
- Appoint trustees to manage a trust you have established for your children or other dependents
What is Inheritance Tax?
Inheritance Tax is a duty that applies to a person's estate when they die. You must pay Inheritance Tax on any estate that is worth more than £325,000, at a rate of 40% of the value that exceeds this allowance.
For a person with a valuable estate, this can represent a very large tax bill, but careful estate planning can help you to mitigate or avoid this tax liability. Thanks to their expertise, our specialist wills and probate lawyers can identify any allowances from which you may benefit, discuss whether a trust or other mechanism might be suitable, and develop a plan to ensure that your beneficiaries receive as much of the value of your estate as possible.
Can I contest a will?
Under some circumstances, you may decide that you want to challenge a will. You must rely on specific legal grounds to issue a challenge, and success requires a high standard of proof - this means that you cannot, for example, dispute a will on the basis that you did not receive a gift. On the other hand, if the provisions of the will seem to conflict with the wishes that the deceased expressed before they died, this may constitute legal grounds to contest the will.
There are several legally valid reasons to challenge a will, including:
- The deceased may not have known the contents of their will
- The deceased did not have the mental capacity to make a will
- The will was forged or amended illegitimately
- The testator was subject to undue influence by someone else
You can challenge a will yourself by entering a caveat online before probate has been granted, but this is not advisable. You should first seek legal advice to ensure that you have legitimate grounds to issue a caveat - otherwise, this action could lead to expensive court proceedings that may not result in the outcome you want. Our expert wills solicitors can advise you on whether or not you have a case, and help you to gather the evidence you will need to succeed.
What if a loved one dies without making a will?
When someone dies without making a will in the UK, their estate is distributed according to intestacy laws. These laws establish a priority order in which loved ones will inherit from the estate; in the first instance, the entirety of the estate passes to a spouse or civil partner. This does not apply to unmarried partners, “common law” spouses or unregistered civil partners, who cannot receive anything under intestacy laws. If there is no spouse or civil partner, the estate will pass to the deceased’s children, and if there are no children, it passes to the deceased’s parents. Ultimately, if there are no eligible relatives to inherit, the estate passes to the Crown.
This applies even in cases where there is an informal understanding about how assets will be distributed. There is no guarantee that the person who inherits your estate will keep to this agreement, and they have no legal obligation to do so. In other words, there may be no legal recourse for your intended beneficiaries if they do not receive the gifts you intended.
For this reason, it is extremely important to make a will. You must also meet all of the legal requirements to be certain that your will is valid, whether you do this yourself or have an experienced solicitor help you. This is the only way to ensure that your estate is divided according to your wishes.
Contact Percy Hughes & Roberts
To speak to Mark Cotson, Head of Wills & Probate at Percy Hughes & Roberts for a no-obligation phone consultation today. Call us on 0151 666 9090, or fill out an online enquiry form to arrange for us to get in touch at a time that's suitable for you.