FAQs & Case Studies

Estate planning is a complex process, which is why we’re here to make it simple. Read through our FAQs below, and delve into our myth busting guides to understand more about what we do.

I only have a small estate – I don’t need a Will
If your estate is very small – currently this is defined as below £5,000, although most banks will transfer up to £20,000 / £25,000 – it’s unlikely the process of Probate will be required to distribute your estate. But this isn’t the case for everyone. For most people, a Will is required.

For more information, visit our Wills & Wills Trusts page.

All my assets and wealth will automatically pass on to my next of kin when I die
If you don’t make a Will, your assets and wealth are likely to automatically pass on to your next of kin.

If you don’t have a next of kin, you’ll need to state in a Will who should benefit from your estate when you pass away.

For more information, visit our Wills & Wills Trusts page.

My partner and I aren’t married, but we have lived together a long time. They will automatically inherit my estate when I pass away.
There are complex rules around an unmarried partner inheriting a person’s assets and wealth after they die. To protect a surviving partner or spouse, and ensure they are financially provided for during the remainder of their lifetime, you’ll need to write a Will and plan your estate.

For more information, visit our Wills & Wills Trusts page.

What are the main reasons / benefits of setting up my Lifetime Trust?
There are many, but the main ones are:

For you and your beneficiaries:

  • Avoiding Probate costs of £10,000 – £15,000
  • Avoiding Probate delays, thereby giving beneficiaries immediate access to Trust funds
  • Avoiding sideways disinheritance should you ever remarry or own property jointly

For your beneficiaries:

  • Avoiding dilution of inheritance due to early death and sideways disinheritance, divorce or annulment of civil partnership, or insolvency and financial problems
  • Avoiding Inheritance Tax in beneficiaries’ estates
  • Avoiding issues with challenges to your Will and unreliable beneficiaries
  • Avoiding loss of means-tested benefits for beneficiaries

For more information, visit our Wills & Wills Trusts page.

Is a Trust guaranteed to exempt me from care fees?
There is no guaranteed way of avoiding the value of assets being taken into account for means testing, but under current rules, if the local authority cannot establish that avoidance of care home fees is a ‘significant factor’ for setting up the Family Trust there will be no basis for challenging the Family Trust.

For more information, visit our Later life care costs page.

I want to minimise threats and maximise the inheritance received by your chosen beneficiaries.
The principal threats to your beneficiaries receiving what you hope to pass down to them are:

  • Inheritance Tax
  • Sideways disinheritance
  • Probate fees and Probate delays
  • Care fees

For more information, visit our Inheritance tax planning page.

I want my beneficiaries’ inheritance protecting against long-term threats.
Once you have maximised your loved ones’ inheritance, you may wish to protect it long-term against a number of threats that may happen, which we at Estate Planning Solutions can support with.

For more information, visit our Wills & Wills Trusts page.

Case Studies

I met Mrs Casey in 2016. She’d approached me after attending a seminar on the subject of ‘Preserving Wealth and passing it on’. She looked harassed and unsettled and I carefully enquired whether everything was okay.

Mrs Casey had a long history in many ways. She was 82 years of age and had been married twice. However, she was in good health, both physically and mentally. Her first husband had died in his early 60’s and she remarried some 5 years later.

One of her three children from her first marriage, Catherine, couldn’t accept that her mother had a new life, and this led her to become angry and cruel towards her mum. The relationship was never reconciled. Indeed, matters got worse with sustained financial and emotional abuse continuing to escalate.

Mrs Casey was under substantial pressure to make funds available to her daughter. The correct signposting was made to support agencies, but the client didn’t feel able to raise her concerns externally.

Mrs Casey owned her own house and some money in the bank.

We discussed how a Lifetime Trust can be used as a shelter or harbour for assets. It puts assets outside of the reach for those not appointed by Mrs Casey (the Settlor) as Trustees. It also makes the administration of the estate after the Settlors death easier. Other potential benefits include the protection of assets, so that they ultimately pass to the nominated beneficiaries.

Finally, but of even greater importance was that if assets remain in Trust for more than 6 years, it is almost certain that any challenge brought by Catherine, after her mother’s death, would fail.

Mrs Casey took a huge amount of comfort from having placed her house, and most of her money into Trust. The Trustees were people that had a good understanding of the situation that she was in and who could, and would, robustly defend the Trust, should Catherine seek to undermine the arrangement later.
This was proper estate planning, tailored to the individual requirements of the client.

I recently went to visit a lovely couple called Paula & Gary at their home. They are in their early forties and have a 6 year old daughter.

Unfortunately, Paula has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and has been told she has a lifespan of 2 to 4 years. These heart-breaking circumstances meant we had to act quickly. Our first meeting was extremely emotional and had be stopped several times as both Paula and Gary broke down whilst dealing with their emotions.

Their absolute priority was to protect their daughter Alice and ensure that, going forward, they maximised her Inheritance. In addition they also wanted to protect their home which still carried a mortgage. Their income was a major concern to them as Paula now only receives a reduced percentage of her salary (which will stop in 6months) and Gary is in a very low paid job. They were very concerned as to how Gary would fund the mortgage payments and manage on such a low salary. They said this had given them sleepless nights.

In addition to looking at the key elements of Estate Planning (Wills / Powers of Attorney / Trusts ) I always take a holistic approach to our clients meaning that I also consider their broader circumstances. As part of this approach Gary realised he may have some existing life cover in place from many years ago. However, he was unsure. I advised Paula and Gary to look out any documents they may have and then to contact the insurance company directly to confirm if they did in fact have some additional life cover.

During our meeting we agreed on Mirror Wills with Guardianship for Alice, Lasting Powers of Attorney for Paula and Gary, a Property Protected Trust and a Discretionary Trust for Alice. Paula and Gary were very grateful for the advice, support and recommendations; for both the Estate Planning work and the broader guidance to do with the potential life cover. They thanked me for my professionalism and guidance.

I was delighted when, a few days after our meeting Gary called me to say he had followed my advice and contacted the insurance company who confirmed that life cover of £300,000 was in place. Whilst the news is bitter sweet it does mean that they will be able to pay off their mortgage and take away some of the stresses and worry that there finances would otherwise have caused. Gary said that if it hadn’t been for the thorough, caring approach I had taken they would never had realised this cover was actually in place.

They can now try to enjoy the time they have left together knowing their financial burden has been eased. Added to this is the fact that they have the right estate planning in place. All of which means they have the peace of mind which allows them to concentrate on Paula’s treatment and care.