full-service commercial law

PRIVATE CLIENT ESTATE PLANNING

Combined with our business services the estate planning service is tailored towards our overseas investors to advise on structuring, succession, and protection.

WILLS

Wills

A Will is a declaration made, in accordance with statutory requirements, of a testator’s intention regarding matters they wish to take effect on death. All clients should be advised to make a Will for any number of reasons, including: to alter the strict devolution under the intestacy rules, to appoint executors and guardians of their choice, to add or alter the statutory administration provisions, to make directions as to the disposal of their body, or to recognise individuals by legacies of money or items. A person is said to die intestate when they do not leave a Will. Without a Will, the statutory rules of intestate succession will apply to their estate and provide directions as to how it should be distributed. A Will is also a key element of any individual’s tax planning. Without a Will, the scope for mitigating inheritance tax (IHT) that would otherwise arise on death, is reduced.

POWER OF ATTORNEY

POWERS OF ATTORNEY

Power of Attorney is a legal document that enables an individual to appoint one or more people (known as ‘attorneys’) to make decisions on their behalf.

In order to create a valid ordinary power of attorney, the donor must be capable of understanding the nature and effect of the power. The power of attorney must be executed as a deed by the donor and the donor’s signature must be witnessed.

Lasting Powers of Attorney

A Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that enables an individual (or ‘donor’) to appoint one or more people (known as ‘attorneys’ or ‘donees’) to make decisions on their behalf. Unlike a general power of attorney an LPA continues to take effect after the incapacity of the donor.

LPAs were introduced by the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA 2005) and replaced the old Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs) from 1 October 2007.

There are two forms of LPA:

  • Property and Finance: to deal with property and financial affairs
  • Health and Welfare: to deal with health and welfare issues

The two types of LPA are independent and the donor may appoint different persons to act as attorneys under each type of LPA.

 

Ordinary Powers of Attorney

An ordinary power of attorney or general power of attorney is a basic document that gives the attorney the power to deal with the donor’s financial affairs, whilst the donor retains capacity. It can be as wide reaching or as limited as the donor wishes. An attorney cannot generally exercise any of the functions he has as a trustee or PR but such authority can be specifically delegated by way of a trustee power of attorney under section 25 of the Trustee Act 1925. An ordinary power of attorney will be automatically revoked by the mental incapacity of the donor.

Ordinary powers of attorney are governed by common law and the Powers of Attorney Act 1971 as to, for instance, their execution and revocability.

Find out More Here to contact us.

BUSINESS SUCCESSION AND INVESTMENT VEHICLES

FAMILY BUSINESS AND COMPANY PLANNING:

Generally, a ‘family business’ is a business which is owned and/or run by more than one member of a family. It may evolve from a business created by an entrepreneur to become a family business when the founder’s spouse or children obtain a shareholding and/or are employed in the business.

Thoughtful planning and organisation are key to successful family businesses. This might involve creating a ‘family constitution’, containing provisions about ownership and other matters that the family wishes to be legally binding. These might be covered in the articles of association and perhaps a shareholders’ agreement (for a company) or partnership agreement (for a partnership). Many family businesses are run informally with little in the way of governance structure or recognised process. While there is always a ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ governance system based on understandings, formalising structures is advised and

Forms of business vehicle

It is important that the most appropriate business vehicle is chosen. There is not one vehicle that will suit the needs and demands of every business. Each structure has its advantages and disadvantages. The decision as to which vehicle to use to carry on a particular business will be complex and dependent on various legal, tax and commercial considerations—there may not be a perfect fit. In addition, the vehicle originally chosen to carry on a particular business may not continue to be the right choice for that business as it develops and matures. In addition to the commercial and legal reasons for the choice of business vehicle, the tax treatment of each different form of business structure will often be a decisive factor in whether it is appropriate for carrying on a particular business.

UK ASSET PROTECTION

UK ASSET PROTECTION

UK based property is subject to UK laws. It is important for overseas investors who are not able to inspect or oversee their investment on a day-to-day basis to have safeguards in place to ensure it is protected from the risks of ownership.

PROTECTING AGAINST FRAUD

Whilst registration has streamlined the UK property market and the conveyancing process, it also poses a risk of fraud through identity theft of readily available information on title. Overseas investors are particularly at risk to this as they may never actually view their property, or may not receive letters or communication about changes, making it easier for fraudsters to deal in the property.

HM Land Registry offers an anti-fraud property alert service which notifies a registered proprietor or person they may nominate if there are any applications made against the title to the Property.

It is also possible to protect against fraudulent transactions by opting to register a restriction on the title, which states that any disposition of title must only be made with written consent from the registered proprietor or their conveyancer.

We can offer this service, both the entry of the property fraud alert and / or restriction, and as the person nominated to receive such alerts in the event of any movement on the title.

Protection against forfeiture proceedings:

If the Rent or Service Charge is unpaid under a lease, or there is a breach of tenant covenants,  the Tenant is in breach and may be subject to the Landlord re-entering the Property to take back possession. The Tenant would be entitled to ask the court for relief from forfeiture which would usually be on terms of paying the arrears and costs, however this can result in significant and unwanted fees and stress.

We have experienced many situations where overseas investors have become subject to forfeiture proceedings and/or tax demands simply because they have not received service charge and ground rent demands, due to them being based overseas, or they have not actively monitored post.

We offer a service of providing a SAIL service address for the purpose of receiving notices under leases.

INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE CLIENT

Foreign UK Wills

Due to laws on the disposal of assets upon death, we advise all of our foreign buyers to consider making a UK will to deal with any UK assets they may have to ensure that in the event of death there is a valid will in place and UK assets may be dealt with by your appointed executor in accordance with your wishes.

Under UK law, upon your death a grant of representation is required to allow your personal representative to deal with your UK assets in accordance with your wishes. You can make a will to decide what happens to your assets after you die. If your will is not valid, any UK assets will be distributed in accordance with UK intestacy rules.

A will shall not be valid in UK unless it complies with the Wills Act 1867 (as amended). If you have a foreign will that is valid in the country that it was made and a grant of probate has been issued in that country, it must be resealed by the Probate of England and Wales Registry in any event before it can take effect in UK. A foreign grant can only be resealed if it is granted in a country which falls within the Colonial Probate Acts 1892 or there are reciprocal agreements in place between the country the grant is given and the UK. If the country in which the grant is given does not fall into one of these categories a full grant application must be made to the England and Wales Probate Registry for the will to take effect. Whether a grant is given will depend upon whether the will is valid and affidavits have been provided from the country along with evidence of a foreign grant of probate.

Appointed Representative and Nominees

Managing a portfolio is hard enough. Managing investment overseas where different laws apply is harder still. It is advisable to appoint a professional representative to act as your nominee. Through use of an Ordinary Power of Attorney this can be as wide reaching or narrow as you choose. Examples can include: giving your representative the authority to enter contracts or sign documents on your behalf; to act as a service address; to act as a digital mail forwarder to keep you informed; to deal with tenancy agreements; to act as bank mandates or trusted nominees; to act as corporate nominees as shareholders in your UK company.

 

OUR SERVICE COSTS

The cost for our specific services are set out below. 

WILLS – DOMESTIC

WILLS – DOMESTIC

PRODUCT

FEE (£)

UK Will

 

From 300

Spouse Mirror Wills

From 450

Codicil

From 150

Will Review

£85 (£50 reduced if instruct on amendments)

Deed storage

20 pa

Professional Executors

Bespoke.

PROBATE

Probate

Type FEE (£)
Probate Up to Obtaining a Grant for an Estate below the NRB £1,500
Probate Up to Obtaining a Grant for an Estate above NRB £3,250
Post Grant Work Hourly rate and/or 1.5% of Estate Value

Example Scenario’s for Demonstration

Scenario 1

Mrs Bouvier died without a Will, leaving around 4 bank accounts (worth around £100,000) which passed to her daughter as next of kin.  The costs of valuing the Estate, applying for Probate and distributing the assets were in the region of £2,000 plus VAT.

Scenario 2

Mr Skinner was survived by his wife but no children.  His Estate consisted of a property, two bank accounts, some shares and a pension (totaling around £300,000).  After distributing legacies and personal belongings to his family, the remainder of the Estate passed to his widow, under the terms of the Will.   Whilst at the outset the matter appeared simple, with no HMRC involvement , on account of a dispute with the deceased family over the terms of his Will, the eventual costs of this matter (including the sale of the house) were a little over £5,000 plus  VAT.

Scenario 3

Miss Hoover (a single lady with no immediate family) died leaving a property, bank accounts and investments (valued at around £450,000).  Her Will left various legacies to friends, bequeathed her property to a charity and the remainder of her Estate to a further 4 charities.    As the deceased left no family, the firm were required to undertake some of the more practical duties (such as co-ordinating the clearance of the property) which would normally be dealt with by family.  The eventual costs were a little over £10,000 plus VAT

Scenario 4

Mrs Flanders left a Will dividing her Estate between her two sons.  Her Estate consisted of a bank accounts, life policy and an investment portfolio (worth around £1.3 million).  The Estate required a full Inheritance Tax Account to be completed and Tax Returns to be submitted.  Eventual costs totaled just under £7,000 plus VAT.

Scenario 5

Mr Burns died a widow with children from two different marriages who inherited his entire Estate under his Will.  His Estate, which was valued at £800,000, consisted of a property, bank accounts and life policies, plus an overseas holiday home.  An HMRC Account was required in addition to income tax returns.  There was an ongoing dispute between the beneficiaries which resulted in costs of this matter (including the sale of the property) being in the region of £30,000 plus VAT.

POWER OF ATTORNEY

POWER OF ATTORNEY

PRODUCT

FEE (£)

Ordinary Power of Attorney

250

Exercising Ongoing Attorney Powers as professional trustee or attorney

Bespoke.

Ordinary Power of attorney for Property Contracts

200

Signing Up To 10 Contracts

Free

Signing additional contracts above 10

20 per sign.

LPA Health and Welfare

700

LPA Property and Finance

700

LPA Combined

1,200

Acting as certificate provider

175

COMPANY PLANNING

COMPANY PLANNING

PRODUCT

FEE (£)

Setting Up UK Limited Entity

 

120

UK Service Address and Mail Forwarding

200 pa

Maintaining of Statutory Books (subject to annual filing)

350 pa

Corporate Nominee Service (on request)

400 pa

INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE CLIENT

INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE CLIENT

PRODUCT

FEE (£)

UK Foreign Will

From 350

UK Foreign Will Spouse Mirror

From 550

UK Service Address and Mail Forwarding

200 pa

Ordinary Power of attorney for Property Contracts

200

INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE CLIENT FRAUD PROTECTION MEASURES

UK ASSET FRAUD PREVENTION

PRODUCT

FEE (£)

Anti-Fraud Property Alert Service (with acting as notified party)

 

75 (115)

Restriction Notification

£40 plus disb

SAIL Service address for Service Charge and Rent Demands

200 pa

Declaration of Trust for Property ownership

£500+

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