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Liberty wills and Trusts Ltd operate across Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Essex offering a fully qualified and indemnified will writing & Estate Planning Service.

We pride ourselves on being able to offer a personalised, friendly face to face service. We genuinely care about ensuring we support you achieving your wishes through our will writing and estate planning services. Our reputation is built on providing a superior customer experience.

We are members of the Society of wills Writers and fully compliant with the Code of Conduct for the organisation, undertaking continuous professional development to ensure our teams knowledge is always up to date. Get in touch today with no obligation and see if we can help you too?

All of us have considered making a Will at some point but only 30% of us have actually done so, leaving 70% of estates unprotected. A will permits you to do many things that would not be possible if you were to die without a will (ie intestate). This includes specifying the person(s) who will administer your estate (Executors),deciding what will happen to specific assets, achieving desired tax and estate planning objectives, protecting your assets from being used to pay for Care fees and deciding who should be the Guardians of your children.

Married Couples - Many of us put off making a Will on the incorrect assumption that when a married person dies, their spouse automatically inherits everything. In fact, if you have children, your spouse Will only inherit the first £250,000 of the estate including the value of the family home. If the home is worth more than £250,000, it may have to be sold. So married couples can only be sure to inherit everything if there is a Will, depending upon the size of the estate.

Co-habiting/unmarried couples - Co-habiting/unmarried couples also assume that they have the same legal rights to inherit as a married couple. However, as the law currently stands, unmarried couples have absolutely no guaranteed rights to inherit.

Parents - If you have children and haven't made provision for their care in the event of your death, the courts will decide who their guardians will be in the event of your death unless you have addressed this in your will.

Separated Couples - Even if you have been separated for many years, your spouse could still be entitled to part of your estate.

Care home fees - Many people have to sell their family home in order to pay long term care fees which can be easily avoided using a carefully drafted will.

Thousands of people every year suffer additional stress in times of bereavement because their loved one didn't leave clear instructions on how their estate should be dealt with in the event of their death.

Who can make a will?

Everyone. We write wills for married couples, co-habiting/unmarried couples, same sex couples and single people over the age of 18.

Creating a Trust in your will can be extremely important when it comes to protecting assets and controlling the distribution of your estate. For example, having certain assets ring fenced in a Trust can ensure that your children are not disinherited through remarriage after your death and ensure that they are protected from subsequent divorce settlements too. Or, for example, if a surviving partner becomes infirm and requires long term care, any funds in Trust would not be considered by the Local Authority means testing process which establishes contributions towards their care fees.

Inheritance Tax - by putting funds into a Trust on your death you can ensure that your children benefit without running the risk of the fund creating an additional Inheritance Tax burden in the future.

A Trust can be a standalone document or a simple clause in your will that protects your assets for a minor child until they reach a specified age, or perhaps to protect a beneficiary's inheritance for a short period until a bankruptcy has been discharged. Trust can also assist if you wished to make provision for a disabled child who is unable to manage their own financial affairs.

Severance of Tenancy / Property Transfers

Most couples believe that they own an equal shore in their family home and that they can specify who they leave their share to in their will. In fact, most property is owned on a 'Joint Tenenacy' basis, meaning that each party owns 100% of the property and the survivor will automatically become the sole owner of the property (subject to intestacy rules discussed in our wills article).

It is possible, and often beneficial, to own a fixed amount of the property in order for you to leave your share of the property to whomever you wish. For example, you can prevent your share being lost to your partner's new spouse when you actually wanted it to go to your children. It is also a simple step to take to make sure that when the first partner dies, their share goes in to a Discretionary Trust to prevent children incurring a large Inheritance Tax liability. This is often, but not always, done on an equal share basis and is known as 'Tenants in Common'. To make the change from 'Joint Tenants' to 'Tenants in Common' is a straightforward process which we can arrange for you. It does not affect your mortgage or your ability to sell your family home but it does provide you with far more choice.

Lasting Power of Attorney (Property and Affairs) - if you become mentally or physically incapacitated, your assets will be frozen and your loved ones will not be able to access them unless they have been granted lasting power of attorney. Even your spouse will not be able to access your assets; the only way in which your affairs could be dealt with is for the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) to appoint a Court Deputy to take charge of your affairs.

As the 'Donor' you can choose someone you trust (Attorney) to make decisions on your behalf about your property and financial affairs if you are no longer able to do so due to age, illness or injury. However, it can also be used helpful to those who, whilst mentally able, have mobility problems and struggle to get to the bank to collect benefits, pay bills etc.

You can choose as many Attorneys as you like and you can instruct them to make decisions for you together or independently or a mix of the two. They will be able to do all of the things you are able to do include invest and spend money, sell property, claim benefits etc.

Lasting Power of Attorney (Personal Welfare) - this type of LPA does not include property and affairs but allows you (the Donor) to appoint someone you trust to act as your Attorney and make important decision about your personal welfare if you become unable to do so due to illness or injury. For example, they can make decisions around your personal care, where you live, withdrawal of life sustaining treatments etc. The Attorney must act in your best interests and it is important to discuss your wishes with you Attorney and include some guidance for them in your LPA.

Both types of LPA need to be registered with the OPG before they can be used. The OPG charge a separate fee for this.

Why choose a Pre paid Funeral Plan?

Over the last ten years the average cost of a funeral has risen 71%* and this rise is set to continue. By pre-planning your funeral now you can ease the finance and emotional burden from your family at a time when they are least able to cope with it.

Liberty wills and Trusts Ltd. work in partnership with the Society of will Writers and Golden Leaves Ltd. to offer a Premium Pre Paid Funeral Plan (the Plan) and regardless of how much the cost of funerals rise in the future your family are protected and wont need to pay any more when the inevitable happens.

The Plan also covers a contribution to the Ministers fees, Doctors fees and crematorium fees. In the case of a burial local church fees will be extra at the time or can be built into the cost of the plan today.

You can choose to pay either as a one off payment, or choose a plan from 12 to 36 months.

If you are interested in talking to us about planning for the future or would just like further information call 01920 823096 or email info@liberty-wills.co.uk

There are no health questions involved when taking out a funeral plan and should you die before paying all the plan costs your contributions to date will be either refunded to your family or applied towards your funeral costs.

*source AXA Sun Life - 13th September 2012

Probate is the process to establish ownership of an estate before the tax is paid and the assets distributed. The responsibility for probate lies with the Executors of a will who often appoint a professional firm to take on the responsibility.

Obtaining the Grant of Probate can be a complicated and time-consuming task requiring forms and correspondence to be completed and is often distressing for those responsible but it is a legal requirement of the Executors to ensure this process is carried out correctly and that any liabilities, such as Inheritance Tax is calculated and paid in a timely manner. If this is not dealt with correctly, the Executor(s) may find themselves personally liable for the deceased's debts and any losses involved.

Liberty wills and Trusts Ltd. work with the Society of wills Writers Trust Corporation to provide friendly, sympathetic yet efficient and professional help to Executors and Administrators of deceased's persons estates at a competitive and transparent cost which means the beneficiaries receive more of their inheritance and sooner. This help can either be by supporting you in fulfilling your responsibilities as appointed Executors or taking full responsibility for the administration for the estate.

If you would like further information, please contact us on 01920 823096 or email info@liberty-wills.co.uk

The Court of Protection is responsible for assisting people who have lost mental capacity so that they cannot be exploited or denied what is rightfully theirs. The Court appoints and regulates those people (Deputies) approved to look after their financial affairs.

The application process to be appointed as Deputy is lengthy and complex. Liberty can advise and assist with the full range of circumstances which affect those under the Court of Protection’s jurisdiction.

Deputyship Applications

What is a Deputy?

A Deputy is authorised by the Court of Protection to act on behalf of and in the best interests of the vulnerable adult. They are usually appointed to manage property and financial matters but in some cases they are also appointed to make decision about the health and welfare.

Who needs a Deputy?

Adults who do not have a registered Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), who are deemed mentally incapable of looking after their own property and financial affairs, or deemed incapable of making decisions on their health and welfare following a medical assessment.

Liberty has experience of assisting cases involving the elderly, those with mental health issues, people with learning disabilities, people with physical and sensory disabilities, those who have suffered from brain injuries and those who have suffer from alcoholism or drug addiction.

Who can become a Deputy?

In most cases a husband/wife/civil partner, close relative or friend will apply for Deputyship. To apply to become a Deputy you must be over the age of 18.

A professional Deputy can also be appointed by the Court of Protection.

The Application Process

The application process can be long and stressful process. For this reason, we always advise clients to make a LPA as part of their financial and estate planning. If making a LPA is no longer an option, Liberty will be able to guide you through every step of the Deputyship application. Costs are usually ordered by the court to be made from the estate of the vulnerable adult.

How Liberty can help?

At Liberty we have extensive experience in dealing with Court of Protection Deputyship services and we fully understand that managing the affairs of a loved one can be difficult and stressful. We aim to make the process as easy as possible for you.

If you would like further information, please contact us on 01920 823096 or email info@liberty-wills.co.uk