Wills, estate and succession planning

Making sure your loved ones are taken care of when you die is a big priority for many.

But it can be all too easy to put it off – especially if you get mired in inheritance law and taxes. We can guide you through the whole process.

First, we’ll get to know you to understand what’s important to you and your family. Then we’ll come up with the best strategy to make the most of your estate for your chosen beneficiaries, whether these are family, friends or charitable causes.

How we can help

We can help you to make sense of what you want to achieve with your assets after your death, who you wish to benefit and what protective measures are appropriate. When you’ve decided on your succession goals, we can advise you on the best options to achieve these.

What’s most appropriate for you will very much depend on your family arrangements, the age, skills and situation of your beneficiaries, the type and structure of your assets, and your wishes about how and when your loved ones should receive their inheritance.

Putting in place a robust will that deals with all the relevant factors might include the following:

  • executors – we can guide you on appropriate choices to ensure your estate is administered effectively on your death to minimise disputes and disruptions
  • minor children – wills can include guardian arrangements and we can draw on the expertise of our family lawyers for any more complex situations
  • personal belongings and gifts of cash sums or items
  • facilitating philanthropic aims
  • allowances - securing the residence nil rate band allowance on a first or second death and maximising the value of any standard nil rate band allowances
  • inheritance tax reliefs – maximising the potential benefits offered by assets which attract inheritance tax relief, including opportunities after the first death
  • protective structures – incorporating trust structures (with the right trustees) where appropriate to manage asset division between different family members (often spouses/partners and adult children)

While considering your goals, we can also help you manage any family discord, challenging beneficiaries, capacity or influence issues, and can draw on the expertise of our contentious estate, trust and will specialists where necessary.

A well drafted, personal and comprehensive letter of wishes to sit alongside the will can be very important to provide guidance to your executors and trustees.

Who do we work with

We work with clients from all walks of life, helping them create protective, tax efficient wills. We’ve prepared wills for entrepreneurs, wills for business owners and wills for farmers. We’ve also acted for sports people, academics, property investors, landed estate owners and more – both in the UK and overseas. 


Our experience

Our expert team knows all the latest solutions for estate and succession planning. Here are a few recent examples of our work:

  • we helped a client with a multi-million pound business create a will providing for both his new wife and the adult children from his first marriage. We also made sure he was making the most of business property relief using flexible and protective trust structures
  • a married couple asked for our advice to make sure that:
    • on the first death, the estate of the first to die would be protected in life interest trusts to provide the survivor with an income but protect the capital for other beneficiaries
    • on the second death a particular valuable asset would pass to charity and the remaining assets pass into a flexible discretionary trust and
    • the benefit of business relief would be maximised

We structured their wills so that the assets destined for charity would be held in one tax efficient life interest trust after the first death, and the remaining assets would be held in a second trust but with the relievable assets to be held in a discretionary fund (for further tax planning opportunities) and the non-relievable assets in a life interest fund.

On the second death, the charitable fund would pass absolutely to the charity (securing a reduction in inheritance tax from 40% to 36% on the remaining taxable estate), the life interest element of the second trust would convert into a discretionary trust and the survivor’s own estate would also pass into a protective trust.


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