Wills & probate solicitors in Somerset & Bristol

Whether you’re planning for the future or dealing with the affairs of a loved one, our specialist Wills and probate solicitors in Bristol and Shepton Mallet are on hand to provide practical advice and support at every stage of the process.

Will writing specialists

We’re used to dealing with a range of Wills – from the very simple to more complex arrangements involving multiple trusts and beneficiaries. One size really doesn’t fit all, which is why we work with you to create a Will which reflects your personal circumstances and priorities.

As well as writing new Wills, we can update your current Will if your circumstances have changed. We’re here to ensure that you’re making good use of all inheritance tax reliefs and exemptions, and that your assets are protected against long-term residential care costs.

We can also help you register a Lasting Power of Attorney (known as an LPA) to protect against mental incapacity in the future.

Unless your circumstances change, the fixed fee we quote for our Will writing services will be the price you’ll pay. We’ll even securely store your new Will – for free.

Experienced probate solicitors

A Will holds most significance after the holder’s death. If someone close to you has passed away, you can be assured that our probate solicitors will work efficiently and sensitively with you at this difficult time.

We understand just how overwhelming it can be when faced with managing the practicalities of a loved one’s death. If you don’t know where to start with probate, speak to our experienced team; we’re personal, emphatic and easy to talk to. We’ll explain the probate process in clear English so that you’re fully aware of what will be happening – and when.

If you’re the executor of a Will, we can provide as much or as little support as you need – from obtaining the grant of probate through to full administration of the estate.

To speak to a Will and probate solicitor in Bristol or Somerset, call our Will writers in Shepton Mallet on 01749 345 756 or our Bristol solicitors on 0117 972 1261.

We offer a comprehensive Wills, estate and probate service for clients in South Bristol and Somerset, covering Shepton Mallet, Wells, Glastonbury, Street, Frome and Chew Magna.

Will writing in Bristol & Somerset

Whether you’re writing your first Will or updating an existing Will, our experienced Will writers in Bristol and the Mendips will provide clear, practical advice on making a Will that protects your interests, is clearly written and legally valid.

Why you should make a Will

Writing a Will is a job that is easily put off to another day. It’s human nature; none of us want to face the prospect of our own mortality.

But arguably a Will is one of the most important documents you will ever own. Writing a Will is the only way to ensure that your assets and possessions – this is everything you own and have worked hard for – are passed on as you would choose.

If you die intestate (or die without a valid Will in place), the state will determine how your estate is split. There’s a very strict order of entitlement, starting with immediate next-of-kin and with little consideration for modern relationships – meaning you run the very real risk that your assets will not be distributed as you would intended.

The benefits of writing a Will

The benefits of writing a Will are numerous. At the very least it will give you valuable peace of mind that your assets will be passed on exactly how you want after your death. You can also choose to exclude certain people who may otherwise have a valid claim on your estate – an ex-spouse or estranged family member, for example.

Think you’re protected by ‘common law’? Think again; it’s a myth. If you’re unmarried or in a civil partnership, a Will is the only way to ensure that your partner gets exactly what they should after your death.

You can also use your Will to:

  • Appoint guardians to take care of children under 18
  • Minimise tax liabilities and create trusts to preserve wealth
  • Pass on specific items of sentimental or personal value
  • Make provision for future grandchildren
  • State your funeral wishes

But perhaps most importantly of all, putting in a place a Will relieves your family and loved ones of the emotional and financial burden of having to make important decisions at what is likely to be a difficult time for them.

What does the Will writing process involve?

Writing a Will doesn’t need to be stressful or difficult. Simply think of it as planning for the future.

We’ll make the process as simple as possible for you. We’ll take the time to understand you, what you own and the people that matter to you so that we can advise you on the most tax-efficient way of structuring your Will and distributing your assets. We can also talk to you about LPAs and trusts if they’re relevant for you. Don’t worry about legal jargon; we don’t confuse our clients. We’ll explain everything in clear English so you understand fully what’s happening, why and when.

Once you’ve approved your Will and it’s been properly signed and witnessed, we securely store it for you – for free, of course. What could be simpler?

Updating your Will

Things change, people change, relationships change. If you’ve already written your Will, don’t forget about it.

Modern relationships are diverse. Marriage, divorce, civil partnerships, cohabitees. Children, step-children and grandchildren. If you have an existing Will, speak to our Will writers about reviewing it regularly to ensure that it still accurately reflects your wishes.

There’s little doubt that death and incapacity are not subjects we’d choose to dwell on; but the importance of looking after loved one and ensuring that they’re protected is something we can all relate to.

To speak to a Wills solicitor in Bristol or Somerset, call our specialist Will writers in Shepton Mallet on 01749 345 756 or our Bristol solicitors on 0117 972 1261.

We offer a comprehensive Will writing service for clients in South Bristol and Somerset, covering Shepton Mallet, Wells, Glastonbury, Street, Frome and Chew Magna.

Lasting Power of Attorney solicitors

For help and advice on putting in place protection for the future, speak to our specialist LPA solicitors in Bristol and Shepton Mallet. As well as helping you decide which type of LPA is right for you, we can also offer guidance on choosing the right attorneys.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (or an LPA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint one or more people (known as your attorneys) to act on your behalf should you no longer have the mental or physical capacity to make decisions yourself.

An LPA is completely separate to your Will; but many of our clients choose to put an LPA in place when they write their Will as part of their future planning.

Types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)

There are two types of LPA: a Property & Financial Affairs LPA and a Health & Welfare LPA. You can choose to put in place both or either LPA.

  • A Property & Financial Affairs LPA gives your attorney the power to make financial decisions for you. These might include paying bills, collecting benefits, managing investments and buying or selling property.
  • A Health & Welfare LPA is less common. This allows your attorney to make decisions about your welfare, including where you should live, your daily routine and your medical care.

Within each LPA you can specify what level of authority should be granted to each attorney. You can also nominate a certain attorney to act for you in a particular area.

Why do I need an LPA?

Every day we make decisions that affect both ourselves and our families. From spending money and paying bills to managing our own health; this freedom of choice is understandably taken for granted.

But have you considered that one day you might not be able to make these same decisions? If you were to lose mental capacity – whether through serious injury, a progressive illness or simply old age – who would you want to make important decisions on your finances, health and welfare?

Contrary to popular belief, if your spouse or parent were to lose capacity, you wouldn’t have an automatic legal right to manage their affairs. You couldn’t access their bank account, deal with their pension or claim benefits for them – not unless you were named as an attorney in their LPA. Without a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, your only option would be to apply to the Court of Protection to become their deputy – a potentially long, frustrating and expensive process.

You can put an LPA in place at any time. LPAs aren’t just for the elderly; in fact, we recommend putting one in place whilst you’re still relatively young and in good health – even if you’ve no intention of using it anytime soon. That way, should incapacity strike for whatever reason, you’ve already taken care of the difficult job of appointing someone to take care of your affairs for you.

LPA registration process

Making an LPA is one of the best ways that you can protect yourself and your family against the impact of mental incapacity. The LPA registration process can be lengthy however; so make your LPA well in advance of when you might need it.

Our experienced LPA solicitors can help you register your Lasting Power of Attorney – as long as you’re mentally and physically capable of making decisions yourself. If there are any question marks around your capacity to understand and sign a legal document, it may already be too late for you to make an LPA.

Before your LPA can be registered, it will need to be signed by yourself, your attorneys and a certificate provider. The certificate provider is authorised to declare that you understand the LPA, its implications and that you’re not being placed under any pressure to make it.

To speak to a specialist LPA lawyer in Bristol or Somerset, call our Wills & probate solicitors in Shepton Mallet on 01749 345 756 or our Bristol solicitors on 0117 972 1261.

We offer a comprehensive LPA service for clients in South Bristol and Somerset, covering Shepton Mallet, Wells, Glastonbury, Street, Frome and Chew Magna.

Bristol & Somerset probate solicitors

Whether you’re the executor of a Will, a family member or a close friend, our experienced probate solicitors can provide you with clear, practical advice on what you need to do following the death of a loved one.

We have many years of experience in dealing with probate on all types of estates, from the simple to the more complex, and are on hand to provide the support you need – when you need it.

What is probate?

Probate is simply the word used to describe the legal and financial processes involved in dealing with the assets (such as the money, property and possessions) of someone who has died.

The probate process is always difficult for those who are bereaved; but we’ll do our best to make it as simple and stress-free as possible for you.

How our probate solicitors can help you

If your loved one has left a Will, within it they will have named at least one executor – this is the person they entrusted to distribute their assets according to their wishes. If you’re an executor of a Will, speak to our probate team – we can check the Will is legally valid and explain the probate process in detail.

We can provide as much or as little support as you need, including:

  • Advice on your immediate next steps
  • An explanation of your legal responsibilities and obligations
  • Assistance in verifying and valuing assets
  • Help paying creditors and taxes
  • Ensuring that assets and possessions are passed onto the person(s) named

We can also outline the options and choices available to you when deciding what to do next, including using our team of specialist probate solicitors to manage the entire probate process and estate administration, from start to finish.

My loved one hasn’t left a Will

Unfortunately matters become more complex if your loved one has died without making a Will. Intestacy rules will apply, meaning that the state will dictate who inherits what, when and in what order from the deceased’s estate – with potentially serious consequences if they were in an unmarried relationship.

Where there is no Will, it’s usually only the next of kin who is entitled to administer and receive the estate. If you’re one of those beneficiaries, speak to our specialist team as soon as possible. We can help you apply to the court for permission to deal with their assets and determine exactly who should benefit from your loved one’s estate.

Support throughout the probate process

Bereavement is hard enough; adding the technical aspects of probate can often be too much. But not everyone who comes to us wants to appoint a probate solicitor to manage the entire process – and that’s fine.

You can choose to use us for some or all of the estate administration – such as applying for probate or settling debts. Or, if you prefer, we can manage the entire probate process for you. The choice really is yours.

To speak to a probate specialist in Bristol or Somerset, call our Wills & probate solicitors in Shepton Mallet on 01749 345 756 or our Bristol solicitors on 0117 972 1261.

We offer a comprehensive probate service for clients in South Bristol and Somerset, covering Shepton Mallet, Wells, Glastonbury, Street, Frome and Chew Magna.

Wills, LPA & probate FAQs

How much does it cost to write a Will?

The cost of a Single Will starts from £210 +VAT. Our Mirror Wills start from £300 +VAT.

Prices are effective from January 2nd 2019. Any administration costs or expenses are not included and will be quoted for by your solicitor, depending on your requirements.

How much does an LPA cost?

We charge £430 for one LPA, or £540 for joint LPAs. Administration costs, expenses and disbursements aren’t included in this, however your LPA solicitor will be able to you a quote which outlines all the costs involved.

Do I need a solicitor to write my Will?

Anyone can write their own Will – but it’s very easy to make mistakes. Even a basic error could invalidate your Will and leave your loved ones with nothing.

We strongly recommend that you take advice from a qualified Will solicitor. Our Will writers in Bristol and Shepton Mallet will work with you to write a Will that is legally valid, protects your loved ones and is tax efficient. Our Wills are competitively priced and start from £210 +VAT.

Do you offer free Will storage?

Yes. We offer secure storage of all new Wills written by us – for free.

Can I change my Will?

Yes, you can change or update your Will at any time. Your wishes may well change over the course of your life and it’s important that your Will reflects the changes.

Contact our Will solicitors in Bristol on 0117 972 1261 or our Will writers in Shepton Mallet on 01749 345 756 to change an existing Will.

What will happen if I die without a Will?

If you die without a Will, it is known as dying intestate. This means that your money, property and any possessions will be shared out according to the law and not you! There is a strict order of entitlement, so who inherits and what they inherit will vary depending on whether you’re married and if you have children.

Without a Will there is a very real risk that your assets will pass to someone you hadn’t intended – or that someone close you to, such as a long-term partner, ends up with nothing from your estate.

We strongly recommend that you write a Will to protect you care about. For advice from a qualified Will solicitor, call our Will writers in Bristol on 0117 972 1261 or our Will solicitors in Shepton Mallet on 01749 345 756.

What does an executor do?

The role of executor is an important one, so it’s important that you choose your executors carefully. Generally speaking, your executor is responsible for distributing your estate in accordance with the wishes detailed in your Will. The executors must apply for probate, settle unpaid debts and distribute money or assets to beneficiaries.

If you’d like some advice on choosing your executors, or you need to update your executors within an existing Will, call our Will team in Bristol on 0117 972 1261 or Shepton Mallet on 01749 345 756.

How can I reduce my inheritance tax bill?

There are many ways to reduce inheritance tax, such as using trusts or by making gifts to friends, family and charities. Our specialist Wills and probate solicitors can provide a pros and cons of each option as well as comprehensive advice on ways in which you can reduce your inheritance tax bill.

Will my partner automatically inherit everything if I die?

No, not necessarily. If you’re unmarried and not in a civil partnership, your partner is not legally entitled to anything when you die.

Writing a Will is the only way to ensure that your partner inherits your assets and possessions as you would’ve intended. Contact our Will solicitors in Bristol on 0117 972 1261 or our Will writers in Shepton Mallet on 01749 345 756 for help writing a Will that protects your loved ones.

How long does probate take?

The length of probate depends on a number of factors, such as the complexity of the estate and whether the deceased left a valid Will. It may take longer still if there is property which needs to be sold and if the estate is liable for inheritance tax.

Probate varies enormously and can involve numerous people and organisations. Our probate solicitors in Bristol and the Mendips will be able to give you a more realistic timescale based on your circumstances.

Contact our Bristol probate lawyers on 0117 972 1261 and our probate specialists in Shepton Mallet on 01749 345 756 to book an initial appointment and to review your options.

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