FAQ - Wills and Probate Law
What happens if I do not make a Will?
The law will decide who gets what and how much. If you are married, your spouse will inherit your property, even if you are separated. If you are not married to your partner, they will not be able to inherit anything without a will. If you are married and have children, the spouse will receive everything up to the value of £250,000 and any personal items. Anything above £250,000 will be divided between your children and your spouse. Your children will inherit everything if you are not married. If you have no partner and no children, the estate will go to your parents, or other family members if your parents are deceased. If there are no living relatives, it will go to the Crown. It is best to make a Will so that the process after your death is the least stressful it can be for your loved ones. It also means that you can control who gets what and how much.
How can I contest a Will?
There are a range of grounds that you can rely upon to contest a Will. This could be that it is not valid, there was fraud, or undue influence, or lack of capacity when the deceased made their Will. You may also make a claim if the deceased owed you money or if they made a promise to you which you relied on to your detriment. Even if you believe that you have reasonable grounds to contest a Will, it is highly recommended that you talk to a solicitor. Please contact Stella Maris Solicitors LLP and we can help you evaluate whether how much you will recover can justify the costs of the process, advise you on your chances of success, identify grounds for a claim and meeting the statutory time limits.
What is a trust?
A trust is a legal agreement between three parties that manages assets for people. The three parties involved are: The ‘settlor’ - the person who puts assets into a trust and decides how they should be used The ‘trustee’ – the person who manages the trust on a day to day basis and pays any tax due The ‘beneficiary’ – the person who benefits from the trust You may want to set up a trust if someone is too young to, or cannot handle, their affairs, to pass on assets while you are still alive, or to control and protect family assets.
What is Power of Attorney?
If you make a power of attorney, you appoint someone to act on your behalf. There are many reasons why you might need someone to act on your behalf, which can be temporary (for example, hospitalisation) or long-term (such as losing mental capacity). Power of attorney will give your attorney the legal authority to deal with third parties such as a bank or local authorities. It could also give your attorney the power to make a decision on your behalf, such as where you should live or whether you should see a doctor. There are three types of power of attorney, and you can only set one up when you are mentally capable. It is best to put one in place early on, which Stella Maris Solicitors LLP can help you with.
What is the difference between notarisation and attestation?
If you are looking to get married abroad, buy or sell foreign property or open a bank account in another country, you may need your documents notarised. A notary will prepare, validate and certify documents and transactions so that they will be accepted in countries outside the UK. The team at Stella Maris Solicitors LLP includes a notary public who can ensure that you have the correct documents and that they are properly prepared, certified and authenticated so that you can carry out personal matters abroad. Attestation is where a document is certified as genuine and recognised in the UK.