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Frequently Asked Questions
Wills, trusts and probate

If you are involved in a contentious will or trust or need legal advice regarding probate, you are likely to have lots of questions. These are some questions that our clients frequently ask. 

Should any disputes arise either with the tax authorities or between beneficiaries in relation to the payment of tax, legal advice should be taken at the earliest possible opportunity in such matters, as delays in making tax payments can result in penalties being imposed on an estate.

If you are a beneficiary, you may encounter difficulties related to: obtaining information from trustees, requesting distributions from trustees, speeding up the administration of trusts. and actions for fraud or breach of fiduciary duties. Vardags can offer extensive guidance for beneficiaries in respect to the above issues and more.

You do not need to be a relative of the deceased to contest a will. If you were dependent of the deceased then you may also have a claim under the Inheritance Act if you believe they did not make reasonable provision for you.Of course, each case is unique, with different facts and circumstances to consider, but Vardags will guide you through the best strategy to make a claim against the deceased’s estate. If you do wish to contest a will you need to act quickly, and it is important to note that you do not need to wait for the grant of probate to start a claim. As such, the time limit for contesting a will is six months after the grant of probate or Letters of Administration.

If you are a trustee, it is not uncommon for issues to arise concerning a connected trust. A trustee may be faced with issues such as: a breach of trust claim, dealing with unforeseen tax liabilities, and handling difficult beneficiaries, to name but a few.

All estates must go through the process of probate, which is overseen by the Probate Court. It is this court which ultimately decides if the deceased’s will should be given legal effect. Unfortunately, disputes can arise when dealing with the deceased’s personal possessions.

Vardags can prepare Lifetime trusts as part of your succession planning or Will trusts to protect your assets for young, disabled or vulnerable loved ones. We can also deal with the alteration of existing trusts and offer bespoke advice on the implications of any such alterations, including all applicable tax and general advice, factoring in all the relevant circumstances.

Under English law a will must be in writing and signed by the person creating the will in front of two witnesses, all present at the same time. There must be no doubt as to what your intentions are, so the will must be very carefully drafted to ensure that it will be valid and stand up to any claims.

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