Personal legal toolkit

A handy legal toolkit offering a collection of straightforward guidance notes to help you with your personal legal needs.

Most of us want a secure future and to provide security and certainty for our loved ones. Sometimes we need some guidance to help us achieve that. We have devised a series of helpful guides, providing useful information on a range of legal matters.

These guides provide free legal and practical help and can be accessed as and when you need them. Click the links below to download the guides in PDF format.

> Making a will 
If you own property or other assets and would like to make sure they go to the people you choose to benefit in the event of your death, you should make a will. A will also ensures you can provide for your dependants and arrange your affairs in a way that minimises tax liabilities. 

> Lasting power of attorney
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint one or more people to make decisions and/or act on your behalf. This can be at a time when you are incapacitated by illness or an accident, when you are suffering from a loss of mental capacity, or even while you are out of the country. 

> Pre and post nuptial agreements
Pre- and post-nuptial agreements are becoming more popular for couples and now form a key part of financial planning. 

> What to do when someone dies
Most people will at some stage suffer the death of a family member or close friend and be faced with the task of dealing with their estate. It is a difficult time. There can be a lot to think about and do, and many people are uncertain of the steps that need to be taken. 

> Administering an estate
A guide for executors, administrators and beneficiaries. 

> Grandchildren’s education trusts
Funding your grandchildren’s school and university fees through a trust can bring a range of benefits. 

> A family investment company
A family investment company (FIC) is a tax-efficient vehicle used for estate planning. Developed following changes to the taxation of trusts in 2006, FICs offer an alternative to trusts as they enable significant wealth to be passed on to future generations – while both protecting and retaining control over the assets.

> Gifts made with 7 years of death 
When someone dies, one of the important jobs of the personal representatives is to ensure that the right amount of Inheritance Tax is paid. As part of this, they need to report any relevant gifts the deceased may have made in the seven years before they died.

> LPA Property and affairs FAQ
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) allows you to deal with a person’s property and financial affairs and there are guidelines that will need to be followed if you have to act on someone else’s behalf. 

> Appointing a professional executor
There are various important considerations to take into account when appointing a professional executor, which we explore in this guide, as well as the likely costs involved.

> Appointing a professional trustee
There are various important considerations to take into account when appointing a professional trustee, which we explore in this guide, as well as the likely costs involved. 

> Deeds of covenant for surplus income
A deed of covenant is a binding agreement made by an individual to pay a regular sum to a specified recipient. It provides a way of making tax-efficient lifetime gifts and, crucially, ensures that those gifts will continue, even if the donor loses capacity.

> Digital assets
Increasingly, we are living our lives in a digital age, where more and more assets are held intangibly online, rather than physically. This briefing note considers in broad terms what you need to do to ensure these digital assets are dealt with in accordance with your wishes.

> Distributing the estate of someone dying intestate
When an individual dies without having made a valid will, they die intestate. In such cases, the estate must be dealt with according to the Administration of Estates Act 1925.

> Family home gift and lease planning
We look at how a homeowner can gift their main residence to reduce the value of their estate for inheritance tax purposes, yet still remain in occupation.

> Trusts
Trusts are mainly used by individuals as a way of holding, preserving and generating wealth. In this guide, we consider issues around trusts, trustees and taxation.