We recognise everyone’s situation is different and we work with you to provide solutions. We also build relationships with others outside of the legal profession so we can offer solutions to all of your needs.
Members of the team have been named in the Legal 500 and are considered as experts in their field.
In the modern day and age wealth protection for you and your loved ones is an important consideration. The earlier you start contemplating this the easier it will be to plan.
Wills and Estates
Our experienced advisers can help you in a number of ways to protect your assets for you during lifetime and for those you wish to benefit. We know that every client is different and that means spending time getting to know you and your circumstances. Once we understand more about you, we can help in a variety of different ways.
Preparation of Tax efficient Wills
The first element to consider is your Will. Do you have one and if so, is it still suitable for your family, your assets and your circumstances?
Wills can be tax efficient, if you want to maximise the use of your Inheritance Tax allowances. At Thursfields, we put you at the centre of all we do and so we prepare a bespoke Will for you, based on how you want your Estate to be dealt with when you have died. We never let tax become the most important part of your Will, your wishes are paramount to us. However, our ideal is to achieve your wishes and protect your tax allowances in your Will.
Advice in relation to Inheritance Tax
When considering your Will, it is important to consider Inheritance Tax too.
Will your Estate be liable to Inheritance Tax when you die? Are you making use of the various allowances for Inheritance Tax? These include Business Relief and Agricultural Relief – incredibly valuable reliefs for business owners and farm owners, which can be overlooked without seeking specialist advice.
Equally important can be to make sure you are making use of your basic Inheritance Tax allowance – the Nil Rate Band and any allowance you have inherited in this regard. In 2017, an extra Inheritance Tax allowance, commonly known as the Residence Nil Rate Band, was introduced. This allowance is complex and it is vital that it is considered carefully to ensure this can be claimed if your Estate would qualify.
Beyond these are other allowances, which it is important you consider if you want to ensure that the maximum amount of your assets pass on to your loved ones.
At Thursfields, we do not believe in entering into aggressive schemes, but simply planning within the rules to maximise the allowances available in order to preserve your wealth and assets.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
There are different types of Powers of Attorney, but we would recommend you make Lasting Powers of Attorney to ensure that your wealth and assets could be managed on your behalf if you are not mentally or physically able to do so yourself. This ensures that the people you trust would be able to manage your affairs on your behalf if you can’t. This can include Health and Welfare decisions if you lack the mental capacity to make your own decisions, as well as managing your finances. Further, business owners may prefer to have a Business Lasting Power of Attorney in place, to ensure that those suitable, and qualified, to manage your business can do so if you can’t. Without this, the business could fall into disarray without you there to lead it.
Trusts have a valid and essential role in protecting assets for vulnerable individuals. This could be putting assets into Trust for young children, or those with a disability. Equally, they can allow you to protect and preserve assets for future generations, allowing your wealth to remain in the family for many years to come.
You may also want to leave a lasting legacy by benefiting Charities. You can do this during lifetime or on death and can benefit existing Charities or create your own Charitable Foundation. Our Charities experts can assist with this and work closely with your Wills adviser when required.
We also believe it is vital to have a joined up approach and so can work closely with your accountants and financial advisors in order to offer a holistic approach. If you don’t have your own specialist accountant or financial advisor we work with other trusted advisors and therefore are able to suggest other professionals who may be able to assist you.
Your relationship is unique to you. Our Family lawyers are able to help you manage your assets should your marriage, civil partnership, cohabitation or other relationship break down.
We have an expert team who is able to advise you about pre or post nuptial agreements and how you can protect your assets that are important to you, together with providing provision for children and those that are dearest to you.
We will deal with and provide you with expert advice which your situation may affect to include business property, family homes, inherited wealth and trusts.
We will guide you through the process and advise on how you may be able to preserve your assets and how these issues can be dealt with upon separation or divorce. Our team is able to provide you with expert advice and representation for divorce proceedings. This will be whether your matter reaches Court or not. We have the ability to negotiate to ensure that your best interests are looked after.
People may wish to consider protecting inherited assets, which they have received prior to, during and following relationship breakdown. We can advise you on various options to protect these assets and the ability to potentially “ringfence” them or exclude them from any financial settlement.
Trust and Property
Family assets may comprise of property owned in your sole name or in the joint names of you and your partner. You may have some family trusts which may need to be considered or you may wish to think about setting up a family trust in order to protect specific assets. We can advise as to the division or settlement of any assets upon relationship breakdown and the impact of existing trusts and property ownership upon marriage and divorce.
You or your partner may have business assets, which may need to be considered and or protected upon the commencement or breakdown of any relationship. We can advise you on the best way to achieve this taking into consideration your individual circumstances.
If you have acquired assets prior to getting married you may wish to protect these by entering into an agreement with your future spouse. A Prenuptial agreement will set out the future financial arrangements between you should there be a breakdown of the marriage at a later date.
We can advise you upon what needs to be considered and incorporated within such an agreement to ensure that it satisfies your individual needs and expectations moving forwards. Similarly, it is also possible to enter into a Postnuptial agreement following a marriage, which are also designed to set out how you wish your assets to be dealt with upon divorce.
You may be concerned about what on going financial support you would be entitled to following the breakdown of a relationship. You may also need to consider how to ensure that any financial support which is due to be received is protected from external factors. We can advise on various options available in order to meet your individual needs going forward and how to ensure these are protected.
The legal position surrounding unmarried couples is very different from those who choose to get married. If you are thinking of cohabiting or acquiring assets with your partner then you should obtain advice as to how those assets would be dealt with and how you can protect them upon relationship breakdown. You and your partner are able to decide how you would like your assets to be dealt with if this were to happen and this can be incorporated into a Cohabitation agreement, which can be tailored to meet your needs and circumstances.
Are you buying a property with another person?
If you are buying a property in joint names there are lots of things to consider to ensure that you are all protected as you would expect to be.
If you decide to purchase a property as Joint Tenants you both own the whole of the property and in the eventuality of a death the whole of the property remains as owned by the survivor. Nothing is transferred and the deceased cannot transfer any part of the property in a Will.
You can also opt to be Tenant’s in Common whereby you decide upon the share each owner has of the property and this enables each owner the right to leave their share of the property to any beneficiary upon that owner’s death. This is essential if you are buying the property as a business venture or wish to make sure that unequal contributions to the purchase are taken into account on any subsequent sale.
There is also the option of putting a Deed of Trust in place for all owners of the property to agree terms covering the financial arrangements of the property, be that on-going financial responsibility, naming beneficiaries or division of monies upon sale. This is a more detailed document and keeps the detail of the arrangement away from the public eye as all Land Registry documents are open to the public.
Couples also need to consider their position and what would happen in the eventuality of a break-up. A Co-habitation agreement can be drawn up for non-married couples and a Pre or Post nup agreement for married couples, to agree what would happen to your property including how the financial arrangements would unfold.
Do you want to protect an unequal shared investment?
Purchasing as Tenants in Common or a Deed of Trust are likely to be the best options for you.
Both of these agreements allow you to agree the share of the proceeds of sale each owner would be entitled to, be that 99%-1% or 51%-49%.
However the Deed of Trust can also cover other financial arrangements relating to the property such as an agreement between the parties in relation to paying any mortgage.
Do you want to protect money loaned by others?
Interested parties need to be considered and you need to ensure that you and those lending money are protected. We advise that you draw up a Legal Charge to ensure that the agreement of repayment and other terms are clearly defined and in place.
If you are being gifted a deposit, with no requirement to pay it back, you will need to provide a “gifted deposit letter” from the person gifting the money to your mortgage lender. The lender and solicitor may also wish to see further evidence of where the money is coming from due to money laundering checks.
Do you want to decide who benefits from your property on the eventuality of your death?
Your Will is where you name your beneficiaries and ensure that your property and other assets, your Estate, are distributed to those you choose upon your death. It is imperative that you update your Will when you purchase or sell a property.
Thurfields property law experts can assist and guide you at any stage be that purchasing, selling or if you already own your property.
Don’t forget that your personal wealth includes your business assets and those assets also need looking after.
Once you have prepared your Will, you need to consider how best to ensure that the value of your business will be preserved for the future. This is important not just for your family, but for your employees too.
We can advise you of your options when it comes to succession planning for your business and help you ensure that your plans are effectively put in place. You may have family that want to succeed you, or you may need to consider putting in place arrangements to realise the value of your share in your business.
Whichever option is right for you, Thursfields have the expertise to give you the right advice.