Wills, Probate, Care of the Elderly
WE OFFER FIXED FEES FOR WILLS, PROBATES AND LASTING POWER OF ATTORNEY! PLEASE ENQUIRE FOR DETAILS ON 0191 213 10 10
Our wills and probate department covers all aspects of preparing wills and dealing with a person’s assets after they have died. We also give advice on bringing claims against an estate and on defending an estate against such claims. We deal with the Court of Protection and The Office of the Public Guardian, in work that includes Powers of Attorney, Deputyship orders and Statutory Wills.
We all know the importance of making a Will and it is all too easy to put off. Making a Will has at last been made simple. We offer a complete service in Will drafting as well as assistance with probate and inheritance tax matters. At all times we seek to provide:-
Efficient and courteous service – we can visit you at home if you live locally, or take your instructions over the telephone.
A Will made in quick and easy steps – same day service can usually be provided for urgent cases. We do all of the work for you.
A Will tailor-made for you, drafted to meet your own circumstances.
Complete peace of mind that everything has been covered.
Please feel free to call us on 0191 2131010 and ask to speak to someone in our Wills and Probate department. Alternatively please use the contact form here.
For further information on the Wills and Probate services that we provide please expand the sections below:
1. Your Will
Between 50% and 65% of people in England and Wales die without any Will or with a faulty will (usually home made). As a result they leave their loved ones with what may be unnecessary, complicated and expensive problems, at the time when they are least able to deal with them.
Worse, if you die without a Will, the law will decide who will get your property. This often means that the people who you wish to benefit will not receive what you would like them to get. A wife or husband does not always inherit everything. Under the current law if you are not married but in a long term relationship your partner will not be entitled to anything. In some cases, all you own goes to the Government, or to distant relatives you may never have heard of.
Making a Will is a simple process for most of us. Besides ensuring that the people (or charities) you wish to benefit will do so, you can:-
Appoint an Executor who deals with all the paperwork on your family’s behalf.
Create trusts to hold money safely for your children until they are at an age when you want them to inherit.
Say who you want to look after your children should they be left without a parent.
Give particular items (such as jewellery) to individuals.
Make specific gifts of money to people or organisations.
Arrange for persons to be able to live in your house, and avoid possible homelessness of a relative or dependant after you have died.
Give your business to the persons you want.
Leave to people with a mental or physical disability in a way which will not affect any means tested benefits that they may receive.
In many cases, reduce or avoid tax.
Prevent your property from going to persons you would not like it to.
Why Use a Solicitor?
Even the simplest Will has to comply with legal formalities and therefore to ensure that it is correct you should make it through a Solicitor. A Solicitor can put into precise legal language your wishes so there can be no doubt as to what you mean.
We sometimes see Wills which are ambiguous, or produce results by their wording that we believe that the persons who made them would not have wanted.
We also see Wills which are not properly executed (although no doubt the persons who made them thought they were) and therefore have no legal validity. A great majority of these Wills are either home-made ones or ones that people have tried to make themselves using a commercial form.
Written instructions are no substitute for personal professional advice.
Making a Will with Mckeag & Co
Conrad Cairns, Head of our Wills and Probate department is a specialist in this field and a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners since 1995.
We draft wills for clients all over the UK. We can discuss your needs with you over the telephone, in person at our offices or, if you live locally, at your home if necessary. We can also visit people in hospital if required.
Once you have told us what you want to do we will send a draft Will for you to look at. When you are completely satisfied that you will reflects your wishes we will prepare a final document for you to execute.
If you do not live locally we will give you instructions on how to execute your will.
Naturally, if you are living in or visiting the North East, we will be happy to see you in person at our office at 1/3 Lansdowne Terrace, Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne. NE3 1HN.
In urgent cases we are often able to provide same day service.
2. Care Home Fees
Since your assets include any savings, any Bank or Building Society accounts, National Savings, Premium Bonds, stock and shares, buildings and land, many elderly people are worried that they will be liable for hefty care bills, and that they may have to sell their family home just to cover the cost, depriving their children of the nest egg they have spent years building up.
What Can I Do?
There are sometimes ways of protecting your possessions to pass them to your children after you die, but simply giving your house or other assets to your children is no guarantee that they will be protected from being used to pay your care home fees.
We provide advice and practical help on dealing with these sorts of situations but the steps we recommend depend on your own circumstances. We would discuss your case with you, and then say what would be the best option. It is a good idea to contact us as soon as possible so we can plan ahead.
3. Help After Somebody Dies
With this in mind we can relieve you of the burden of “getting probate” to help you to ensure that the wishes of the deceased person are followed. We can give advice on all aspects of winding up a deceased person’s estate, including selling the house or transferring it to the persons entitled.
Dealing with a deceased person’s tax can be complicated and is often a specialist’s job. We can advise on the payment of Inheritance Tax, and deal with the Income Tax affairs of a person both before death and in the period of the administration of the estate.
We can offer professional advice to personal representatives so that they can be sure that they comply with their duty to all the people mentioned in the Will.
It is sometimes possible to save a considerable amount of Inheritance Tax after a person has died by means of changing the effect of the Will or the intestacy. This needs specialist advice which we are happy to provide.
Sometimes in simple estates the family will find it easiest to ask a solicitor to get a Grant of Probate of Letters of Administration, the court document needed to wind up the estate. After this members of the family can write to banks etc to get in the money. If we are asked just to obtain the grant, we will do so at a fixed fee of £400.00 plus VAT (the probate court will also charge a fee, and there will be a small charge for swearing the oath).
4. Lasting Powers of Attorney
Many people have had the foresight and wisdom to ask us, as Solicitors, to prepare a Lasting Power of Attorney in order to minimise the problems should the situation arise. Many people think that it is only necessary to consider creating a Power of attorney if they are old but that is not the case, illness or injury can strike at any time and it is sensible to create a Power of Attorney when you are fit and active so that it can take effect if you were unfortunately physically or mentally incapable of looking after your affairs. The Power of Attorney would only become exercisable if you were incapable and it is too late to wait until you are unable to manage your affairs to create one. This is why we recommend a lasting Power of Attorney to everyone.
It is a fairly simple document for which we charge very reasonable fees and with it you can be sure that the person or persons you want and trust will manage your affairs should you be unable to do so yourself, for whatever reason.
Such a document can save a lot of trouble and expense as without it, it may be difficult for your relatives to handle your affairs for you.
Should you know somebody who has become mentally incapable, say because of old age, you may yourself have to handle their affairs. If they have not made a Lasting Power of Attorney we can advise on the alternative, a Deputyship Order with the Court of Protection which will allow you to manage your friend or relative’s affairs for their own good. We give practical help in this sometimes complex area of law.
We offer a fixed fee service of £400.00 (plus VAT and court fees) for drawing up and registering a Lasting Power of Attorney, or a pair of Powers.
5. Cut out of a Will ?
Certain relatives or people in specific relationships with the person who has died can claim part of that person’s estate if it is reasonable for them to do so in the circumstances. We can advise on your rights and how strong your case is.
If appropriate our litigation department will handle your case for you if you have been unfairly excluded from somebody’s estate.
McKeag & Co Solicitors raise more than £5000 for Will Aid
McKeag & Co Solicitors of Gosforthhas raised over £5000 for charity, by writing Wills for local clients as partof November 2011’s Will Aid campaign. Will Aid clients were offered a basicWill and asked to make a donation instead of paying the firm’s usual fees. Themoney raised is shared by Actionaid, Age UK, British Red Cross, Christian Aid,NSPCC, Save the Children, SCIAF, Sightsavers and Trocaire.
McKeag & Co has participated in theWill Aid scheme since 2002 and this year’s fantastic result brings their grandtotal to almost £18,000. The funds raised are being put to work by the Will Aidcharities to make a real and immediate difference to the lives of the people inneed in the UK and all over the world.
Conrad Cairns , lead Will Aid solicitor at thefirm, commented on the success of the campaign:
“Having a Will is soimportant to make sure that you know exactly what will happen to yourbelongings or who will look after your children after you are gone. Will Aid is a very effective way of raisingmoney for important causes and writing your Will at the same time. We havewritten over 70 Wills through the Will Aid 2011 campaign and we are hoping totake part again in 2012.”
Will Aid Campaign Manager, Shirley Marsland, said:
“The Will Aid charities are so grateful for thegenerosity and hard work of the team at McKeag& Co.This has been the most successful campaign to date and overall we expect toraise over £2 million. The Will Aid charities will be able to put the moneyraised to immediate use.
Christian Aid's Legacy Officer
“The support of McKeag& Co. is greatly appreciated by Christian Aid. Will Aid is very importantto Christian Aid as not only do we receive a significant amount in donationsbut the campaign also provides an opportunity for people to leave Christian Aida legacy. Legacy gifts are crucial inenabling our work to eradicate poverty and change the systems and structureswhich cause it. Legacies of all sizes are incredibly valuable to Christian Aid– last year our income from legacies could have more than paid for all our workin Latin America and the
For more information, please visit: www.christian-aid.org.uk