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Estate planning is formulating a plan for passing on your assets to your next of kin or named beneficiaries in the most tax efficient manner. It is proactively taking the time today to plan what happens to your estate in the future, making sure you have all the right legal documents in place to carry out your wishes and manage your estate through your lifetime and in the event of ill health or death.

Our role is to help clients to develop a robust long-term strategy and to implement tactical solutions that help to structure your assets in a tax-efficient way, protecting your wealth. We can work with our clients’ existing professional advisers, such as financial advisers and accountants, to ensure a seamless and coordinated approach to producing a comprehensive and efficient estate plan.

What is estate planning?

Estate planning is the name given to the process of formally determining how you wish your estate to be managed through your lifetime and in the event of ill health or death. It ensures that all the right legal documents are in place to carry out your wishes. It involves a comprehensive look at your entire estate to understand the full extent of your assets and structuring your estate in the most efficient way possible to minimise tax liability and mitigate against unforeseen risks.

Estate planning services

Wills - One of the most effective ways to manage your estate is by keeping an up-to-date Will. Without a Will, the intestacy rules state who inherits your estate, meaning your intended beneficiaries may not receive what you wish them to.

Trusts - Setting up a trust for your beneficiaries can effectively ring-fence the assets you put in from the rest of your estate, and have inheritance tax benefits.

Lasting Powers of Attorney - It is advisable to make an LPA, appointing someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf about your money and assets or your health and welfare, or both, in the event you are unable to make your own decisions.

Inheritance tax planning - Inheritance tax rules are complex, especially when businesses, or properties abroad are involved.  The current inheritance tax threshold (nil-rate band) is £325,000, and has remained the same since 2009. For deaths after 5 April 2017, the residence nil-rate band can be claimed where the family home is inherited by children or grandchildren. For estates exceeding the combined thresholds, a 40% inheritance liability may arise. We can advise as to the available exemptions, and strategies to help protect your wealth and minimise the exposure to inheritance tax.

International estates - For those who own properties abroad, our estate planning solicitors have vast experience in managing international estates, navigating tax and property laws.

Why choose our estate planning solicitors?

  • We offer a full estate planning exercise to enable clients to plan effectively for now and for the future, advising as to suitable arrangements to protect and pass on wealth as tax efficiently as possible. We can also provide assistance in the suitable structuring of life insurance policies, death in service benefits and pension death benefits.
  • We are highly experienced. We have a range of experience working with complex, high-value estates, including those with a foreign element, or business interests. We also help business owners to structure their affairs to provide for family succession if relevant, to ensure that steps are taken to maximise tax reliefs and to extract the value of business interests from an estate for the benefit of family and relatives.
  • We tailor advice to you. We take the time to understand your circumstances and goals and provide bespoke advice best suited to you.
  • Boyes Turner is ranked as a leading law firm by the legal directories, Chambers UK, and The Legal 500 and has been for many years. When our clients require extra specialist guidance, we have other highly rated private client services, such as Property and Family Law solicitors too.

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Estate planning FAQs

Who should consider estate planning?

Estate planning is important for everyone – no matter what your family or financial circumstances. It protects your family’s inheritance and ensures your wishes are fully understood and executed. Failing to make plans for your estate can lead to unintended consequences for your beneficiaries and also cause unwelcome family disagreements or disputes.

Whether you are keen to protect your wealth, or prepare for the future to make sure your affairs are in order for your loved ones, our experts can provide estate planning advice for any level of complexity.

What is my estate?

Your estate consists of all property owned at death, before it is distributed in accordance with your Will or trust deed – or the intestacy laws in the event that the relevant legal documents are not in place. An estate may contain both real property (real estate, including homes, investment properties and land) and personal property (all other property, including bank accounts, stocks and shares, vehicles, furniture, art, jewellery and all other assets and possessions). All debts and liabilities (for example, an outstanding mortgage or loan or credit card balance) must be settled from your estate and all relevant taxes paid before the assets are distributed.

Who should handle my estate?

This is typically a surviving family member, close friend or other person you trust completely, who is normally named in your Will as an ‘executor’. If there is no Will, the person who handles your estate will be appointed by the court (known as an ‘administrator’).

Does estate planning minimise inheritance tax?

Yes, estate planning can minimise inheritance tax and ensure that the maximum value of your estate passes to your beneficiaries. This can be done in various ways such as utilising exemptions, setting up trusts, passing on part of your estate whilst you are alive or leaving money to charity.

Our expert estate planning solicitors can help structure your assets in the most tax-efficient way suited to your personal circumstances.

I have a high net worth - what issues could I face?

When you have a high net worth, it often means there is more to think about to plan effectively and ensure you have financial security.

High net worth individuals often face issues including:

  • Tax laws in the UK - these are complex, especially if you have international assets.
  • Having assets in different structures - such as trusts, businesses, investments.
  • Wealth protection - against creditors or divorcing partners.
  • Privacy protection - when a client has a high profile in the media.
  • Succession planning - when a client considers handing over businesses.

We specialise in high net worth clients. Our estate planning solicitors understand the law, and take the time to understand your circumstances so that you can maximise the amount of tax relief possible and structure your assets in a way that protects your wealth.

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