Probate done properly

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    Probate done properly

    Putting our personal (or commercial) affairs in order is probably at the bottom of the list for most of us, as it forces us to think about the unthinkable.

    However, leaving it for a rainy day can lead to unintended consequences for your family (and/or business partners).

    At Equilibrium, we can relate to the difficulties families face when dealing with the death of a loved one. We’ve witnessed many situations that could have been avoided or simplified, so our aim here is to help all our clients to ‘get their affairs in order’, saving you time, money and worry down the line.

    Let’s start with your legal documents – do you know where they all are?

    To make life a little easier for those dealing with your estate whilst grieving, it would help them to have all the relevant information to hand. This is where we come in – we now offer a document storage facility where ALL your essential documents can be held securely, giving you peace of mind that they are safe and in one place.

    Simple. Secure. Stored.

    Your essential documents include your wills, power of attorney documents, pension nomination forms, trust deeds and of course, the all-important “letters of love” (letters of wishes).

    We will make sure that we have ALL the contact details for your executors, beneficiaries, trustees, and attorneys. Often a will just contains an address, and the individual may well have moved, therefore, we will also collect contact numbers and email addresses.

    Traditional contact methods may not work on occasion if, say, a beneficiary is in care, therefore we recommend nominating a secondary point of contact as a backup.


    Before we store your documents, we will identify any that we believe are missing or out of date. For instance, you may have a lasting power of attorney (LPA) for financial decisions but not an LPA for health and welfare. In truth, we go much deeper than this by clarifying what powers you want your attorneys to have and when exactly you would like them to act. This clarification can avoid conflicts between your attorneys by giving context to your wishes.

    When conducting a document audit, we look beyond what’s written and consider the consequences.

    Some of these circumstances are specific, based on our experience in dealing with similar situations, however, some will apply in almost all cases:

    • Checking you have all the relevant
    • Recording where the originals are
    • Checking that the executors, trustees and/or attorneys are aware of their roles (and more importantly, that they have the right information and knowledge, as well as the time, to complete them).
    • Are the relationships between these people likely to cause difficulties in the future?
    • Making sure the beneficiaries are clearly defined and remain relevant.

    Giving executors, trustees and attorneys clear instructions is vital as these are unlikely to be set out in a will. We recommend a letter of love to explain not just the “what” but also the “why” behind the decisions made.

    What we will provide:

    • Our expertise and experience dealing with probate.
    • A comprehensive probate service.
    • Free registration with The National Will Register.
    • A receipt confirming all your documents that we hold (and with your agreement sent to executors/ trustees and attorneys as required).

    What we need from you:

    • Details of bank accounts and assets held elsewhere.
    • Details of other professionals you deal with e.g. your accountant or solicitor.
    • Your original documents (if not stored elsewhere).

    Dress rehearsal

    Before accepting the documents, we will undertake a full dress rehearsal to make sure that everything works in practice and still reflects your current wishes (see our recent blog Law in order). In the case of a couple, we will choose whose death to rehearse and whilst both will be in the meeting, only one will be able to answer!

    We will highlight any assets or aspects of your affairs which could be problematic during probate or cause extensive delays. This can include who gets what in accordance with the will, what will pass on as a jointly held asset, and how pensions will be distributed.

    As part of our service, we will provide an inheritance tax review, highlighting assets that are inside and outside the estate, calculating any tax to pay and in practice, how it could be paid.

    The dress rehearsal will also encompass cash flow planning to provide financial confidence that the survivor’s standard of living can be protected and if not, highlight the steps that can be taken to address this.

    This article is intended as an informative piece and should not be construed as advice.

    We’re here to help

    If you’re unsure whether probate applies to you, please call us on 0161 383 3335, and one of our experts will assist you every step of the way or alternatively reach out to your usual Equilibrium contact.

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