Estate planning lawyers
Our estate planning solicitors are here to help protect your wealth by structuring the assets in your estate to minimise inheritance tax and provide for your loved ones.
Estate planning solutions to protect your wealth
When you have worked hard throughout your life to acquire personal assets, it is important to plan how best to keep and use this wealth in later life and ultimately protect it for your family.
Nearly everyone has estate and assets, no matter how large or modest, that they would like to protect and pass on to future generations. Estate planning to protect your assets can help to avoid threats including:
- Inheritance tax
- Capital Gains tax
- Income tax
- Business failure
- Forced inheritance, such as a child’s Legal Right or a cohabitant’s claim
- Family or matrimonial issues
Effective estate planning can involve the use of fairly complex tools, such as trusts. Other planning vehicles, like gift making, can be simple and straightforward. An up to date Will might be all that is required, or a Power of Attorney.
We can offer straightforward, practical advice tailored to suit your particular circumstances and can, for example, help calculate what your Inheritance tax liability might be and work with you to produce a bespoke plan to help reduce your tax exposure.
Common questions about estate planning
Simply put, estate planning allows you to prepare your finances so that your assets are protected for your loved ones after you die. Effective estate planning can affect the amount of inheritance tax due on your estate.
A Will is just one tool used by our specialist lawyers as part of effective estate planning. For some people an up to date Will may be enough, but for many people a Will is only the starting point.
If you die without leaving a Will, which is known as intestacy, then after your debts and liabilities are all paid your estate will be distributed in a particular order:
Your spouse or civil partner will be entitled to “Prior Rights”. They will inherit your interest in the house, but only if they are ordinarily resident there, up to a value of £473,000; furniture up to a value of £29,000 and an entitlement to £50,000 cash (if you have children) or £89,000 if you die leaving no children. Should you be separated from your spouse or civil partner they will still be entitled to these rights although they won’t get your interest in your home if they have not been living there.
If there is any estate left after Prior Rights, your spouse/civil partner and children, if any, are entitled to Legal Rights. If you have children, it will mean that your spouse/civil partner will be entitled to a further one-third of your moveable estate or one-half of your moveable estate if you die leaving no children. Your children would also be entitled to a one-third share of your moveable estate if you left a spouse or civil partner and equally, a one-half share if you had no spouse or civil partner.
The remainder of your estate would then be distributed in accordance with a hierarchy set out by the Succession (Scotland) Act where your parents and/or siblings may be entitled to a share of your estate.
5 things to think about when making a Will
Are brothers and sisters entitled to a share of their sibling's estate?
Survivorship Destinations – what are they and how do they impact my Will?
New rules on Succession in Scotland – how they will affect who inherits your estate
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