Two of the most important documents to have in place are a Will and Power of Attorney. A Will deals with the distribution of your estate on death. It records who should benefit from your estate in accordance with your wishes. A Power of Attorney is a deed that allows you to appoint your chosen Attorney or Attorneys to make decisions on your behalf should you lose the capacity to do so yourself during your lifetime.
The team at Douglas Home & Co can draft these legal documents for you and work to ensure they are as tax efficient as possible.
Trusts can be a useful vehicle for tax planning or asset protection within families and we can advise and assist on the creation or winding up of Trusts along with dealing with the annual reporting requirements.
Trusts are often considered unnecessarily complicated; however, they can be beneficial in the right circumstances, and we can guide clients through the options available.
If you die without a Will, your estate will be divided up and allocated to your surviving family members by a process called intestacy. This may result in your estate being passed down to people who you would not have wanted to inherit and may also cause Inheritance Tax issues that could have been avoided. Having a properly drafted Will in place allows you to retain control over who inherits from your estate, giving you peace of mind that your assets will be distributed as per your wishes.
An Attorney will step in to make decisions on your behalf if you have lost the capacity to do so yourself. However, an Attorney can also help out even if you still have the capacity to make decisions. For example, if you are in hospital for a long period of time and you require someone to manage your personal admin, your Attorney can assist.
Your Attorney can make decisions relating to your financial, business and property affairs as well as decisions relating to your wellbeing.
As soon as you own an asset, you should have a Will prepared to record what should happen to that asset upon death.
A Power of Attorney is relevant to people of all ages. Most people associate Powers of Attorney with the elderly and with illnesses such as dementia, however, a young adult could have an accident and be left in a situation whereby they are unable to make decisions for themselves. If there was no Power of Attorney in place, then someone would have to be appointed as their guardian. This is a court process and is very expensive. As it is a court decision as to who is appointed as guardian, it may end up being someone you wouldn’t necessarily have chosen or wanted to make decisions on your behalf. We, therefore, encourage clients of all ages to have Powers of Attorney put in place.
There is no legal requirement to draw up a Will with a solicitor. However, the law around the drafting of Wills and the way they are administered after death is complicated. Using an expert means that you can be sure both that your wishes are accurately set out and that your Will will give effect to these. In addition, a solicitor can advise on the inheritance tax consequences of your Will and ensure that it is drafted in as tax-efficient a way as possible. A poorly drafted Will can cause complications and disputes after your death, which may be costly and distressing to resolve. By seeking advice and having your Will drawn up or checked over by a qualified solicitor you can be certain that your wishes will be followed after your death and that your family adequately provided for.
Given the strength of our tax knowledge, familiarity with our client business and personal financial affairs, along with years of experience, we can plan for life after death in a tax-efficient manner.
We provide a caring, personal approach to the drafting of Wills and Powers of Attorney. Our team of lawyers are qualified in both Scottish and English law; therefore, we are able to advise clients on both sides of the border when creating these legal documents.
We can also offer advice on and deal with trust and estate administration matters. This allows us to manage everything under one roof to make the process as easy as possible for you.
Laura is a solicitor qualified in Scotland and currently works on a consultancy basis for DH&Co. Prior to working, Laura earned a joint degree in Law and French from Strathclyde University.
Laura specialises in succession and estate planning matters, including the preparation of Wills, Powers of Attorney and Trusts. She also deals with executry administration and prepares guardianship applications when a person has lost capacity without a Power of Attorney. She has been a Private Client solicitor for 15 years. Laura works side by side with our tax specialists to ensure all financial areas are considered.
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