Wills & Estate Planning
With good estate planning comes peace of mind, and peace of mind is what we at Miller Hendry want for our clients. We’ll advise you on the best way to structure your Will and offer bespoke estate planning advice for your individual needs – we’ll make sure we protect your interests all the way.
Why should you make a Will and carry out Estate Planning?
To determine who will benefit from your estate after your death. If you don’t have a Will, the rules of intestacy kick in (your estate is divided according to set legislation). These rules are complex and can lead to unexpected results. It’s a much better option to be in control of who you leave your money and property to.
• To determine who will benefit from your estate after your death. If you don’t have a Will, the rules of intestacy kick in (your estate is divided according to set legislation). These rules are complex and can lead to unexpected results. It’s a much better option to be in control of who you leave your money and property to.
• To consider the needs and rights of cohabitees who won’t receive anything automatically from their partner’s estate.
• To appoint Executors to administer your estate after your death, and give them appropriate powers to deal with your funds.
• To make arrangements for children who might inherit, for example the setting up of a Trust or appointing guardians.
• To set out other wishes, such as your preferred funeral arrangements.
Miller Hendry can advise you on how best to achieve your wishes for the assets you pass on in your Will. We will also counsel you on Inheritance Tax Planning (IHT), and whether you should be considering Long Term Care Planning.
Power of Attorney
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney authorises another person or persons (your Attorney) to act on your behalf. The Attorney may act in the management of your property, financial and business affairs, and/or various aspects of your personal welfare, medical treatment and care. Typically, a Power of Attorney is used when a person becomes so infirm or aged that they are unable to handle their affairs on a daily basis. It can also be used on a temporary basis – for example, if a trip abroad is anticipated.
Why should you have a Power of Attorney prepared?
Preparing a Power of Attorney is like taking out an insurance policy; it is a way in which you can protect yourself and your interests in the future. If you do not have a Power of Attorney in place and are unable to look after your own affairs, an application needs to be made to the courts to appoint a guardian. This can be a lengthy and expensive process.
It’s important to appoint someone whom you trust and who is capable of making informed decisions about your affairs. Usually people favour a close family member or close relative, sometimes they appoint their solicitor.
Having a Power of Attorney prepared gives peace of mind that your affairs will be taken care of by people you trust. They have become an essential tool in the proper management of people’s affairs, and as such Miller Hendry advises every client to consider having one in place. The Power of Attorney must be granted at a time when you are able to fully understand the nature and effect of the deed you are granting.
What types of Power of Attorney are there?
• Financial Power of Attorney This covers your financial and business affairs. It is often used by Attorneys to take care of day-to-day matters such as paying bills.
• Welfare Power of Attorney This empowers a third party to deal with particular aspects of your welfare, care provisions and medical treatment. It only becomes effective if you are unable to make decisions yourself.
• Combined Powers of Attorney These can be prepared to include both financial and welfare powers.
Long Term Care Planning
With life expectancy increasing, planning for your old age is highly important. Your estate, the funding of care homes, your Will and Powers of Attorney should all be considered when making those decisions.
Miller Hendry’s team of expert solicitors is here to offer advice on all of this, including the issues of financial thresholds and free personal and nursing allowances for care homes. There’s also the issue of transferring your home to other family members. Again, we can advise on the legal and tax implications, and the pros and cons around such a move.
Executries & Succession
Dealing with the affairs of a family member or a friend who has passed away can be emotional, stressful and time consuming. At Miller Hendry we take some of that stress out of your hands by taking control of the estate administration, from start to finish.
An executry estate comprises all the deceased’s assets, less any liabilities, at the time of death – including property and contents, bank accounts, insurance policies, and stocks and shares.
Our experts will detail the assets and liabilities and prepare all the necessary documents to take settlement forward. We’ll also arrange a funeral if necessary, place intimations in newspapers, and contact friends and relatives. We can also help with clearing properties, dealing with specific legacies to beneficiaries – and anything else that means an individual’s estate is dealt with in accordance with their wishes.
You can count on Miller Hendry to provide expert guidance and reassurance during what can be a very difficult time.
Why trust us with your Trust needs? That’s simple: we look after a large portfolio of Trusts, ranging from Charitable Trusts to Family Trusts. This makes us experts in the creation, administration and organisation of Trusts.
Scottish law recognises various types of Trusts, many of which are subject to highly technical tax provisions, or where the Trustees have a particular duty of care, or where there is a range of legislation which impacts upon the management of the Trust and the conduct of its Trustees.
It’s a complex area of the law, and that’s where we come in.
Guardianship & Intervention Orders
Where an individual has lost the capacity to make decisions for themselves and have not previously granted a Power of Attorney, an Intervention or Guardianship Order may be required. Scots Law gives various options to a relative or a friend to apply to the court to assist a person who no longer has capacity (known as the ‘adult’) to look after their own affairs. Funding is available from the Scottish Legal Aid Board for most Guardianship applications. and the options are:
• Apply to access funds A relative or a friend can apply to the Office of the Public Guardian to access and manage the funds held in the adult’s bank or building society account.
• Apply for a Financial Intervention Order This is generally sought when a person needs authority to make a particular decision or take certain action on behalf of someone who is not able to do so themselves. This type of Order could allow the person appointed to do certain one-off things such as sign official documents or sell the adult’s home.
• Apply for a Financial and/or Welfare Guardianship Order A Guardianship Order gives the Guardian authority to act and make ongoing decisions to manage the financial and/or welfare affairs of the adult where they are no longer capable of doing so themselves.
Miller Hendry has a wealth of experience in making Guardianship applications and in dealing with their ongoing administration. We’re happy to provide you with further information in this highly specialised area of the law.
Personal & Trust Taxation
Tax advice can take many forms, from personal tax advice to capital gains tax planning. We at Miller Hendry have the knowledge to guide you through all of it. We’ll help you complete your tax return, and advise you of your tax liability.
If you have been issued with a Tax Return, we can complete this on your behalf and advise you of your tax liability. We’ll make sure your tax affairs are well organised and help you with any disposal of assets – and also help mitigate capital gains with effective tax planning. Achieving tax savings takes not only careful planning but a thorough knowledge of how to dispose of and transfer assets. We’ll help you every step of the way.
If it’s a Trust you’re after, we’ll tell you what’s best suited to your individual purposes, draw up the appropriate paperwork and work with HMRC on preparing and filing the necessary tax returns.
We’re also experts in estate administration, which opens the door to inheritance tax, capital gains tax and other liabilities. We deal with all of these as part of our Executry service. Similarly, we’ll set out the implications for you on inheritance. We offer an invaluable service and support to surviving spouses, who often find themselves faced with entirely different financial circumstances than before.
Charities are subject to complex regulation covering trustee duties and remuneration, accounts preparation, and investment compliance. This ensures that the work of Charities is carried out effectively, with transparency, and is sensitive to the needs of both beneficiaries and the wider public.
Miller Hendry and its expert team of solicitors acts for a number of Charitable Trusts, many with assets running into millions of pounds. As such we are ideally placed to make Charities aware of their duties and obligations, and the standards of care that need to be applied to them.
We also advise Charitable Trustees on the creation, reorganisation and dissolution of Charitable Trusts, reporting requirements, and tax advice and accounts preparation.