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Wills & Probate

Considering what will happen in the event of your death or in the event that you lack mental capacity can be a depressing thought. However it is important that we all consider our mortality so as to protect loved ones and provide for their future. Sousa Law, of Southampton and Alresford near Winchester, can help guide and advise you about these important decisions in a sensitive and compassionate way.

Making a Will is the best way to ensure that your assets are passed onto your family and friends exactly as you wish. It is also very important if you have children under the age of 18 and you wish to appoint a guardian to care for them in the event of your death. You may also wish to have your funeral plans included. If you die without making a Will your assets will be passed on according to the law of intestacy rather than your wishes and there may be a substantial inheritance tax liability to pay meaning that there may be less money to pass onto your loved ones.

Making a lasting power of attorney (LPA) can be just as important as making a Will. There are 2 types of LPA – property and finance LPA’s and Health and Welfare LPA’s. An LPA will ensure that appointed persons (attorneys) can make decisions about your health and deal practically with your finances should you become incapable of doing so yourself. They are powerful documents and clear legal advice should be taken before executing them. LPA’s are not limited to the elderly although they are more commonly executed by individuals who are concerned about their declining mental health or facing dementia. These powerful documents can be equally important for young people who for example might be incapacitated due to an accident.

If a person has died leaving a Will then this should contain details of the Executors appointed in the Will to deal with the finances of the deceased. it is the Executors that apply for the grant of probate from the probate registry, who collect in all the assets and distribute the estate according to the deceased wishes. The application for probate can be a time consuming and lengthy process and the Executors carry a huge responsibility for dealing with the assets correctly. Sousa Law will take the burden away from the Executors and ensure that obtaining probate is dealt with swiftly and the estate money is distributed correctly.

If a person dies without leaving a Will, a close relative of the deceased can apply to the probate registry. This is a similar process to applying for probate which is referred to as a grant of letters of administration. Again this can be a lengthy process and complications can arise. Our probate solicitors can deal with the letters of administration and distribute the estate of the deceased ensuring all inheritance tax issues are dealt with correctly.