CCNMatthews UK Limited

March 08, 2005 10:04 ET

Grace & Co Solicitors - Where There's A Will, There's A Way To Save Tax


NEWS RELEASE TRANSMITTED BY CCNMatthews

FOR: CCNMATTHEWS UK LIMITED

MARCH 8, 2005 - 10:04 ET

Grace & Co Solicitors - Where There's A Will, There's
A Way To Save Tax

WARRINGTON, ENGLAND--(CCNMatthews - March. 8, 2005) - Thanks to recent
property price rises in this country, it's estimated that as many as 2.5
million homes are now worth more than the inheritance tax threshold of
Pounds Sterling 263,000. Which means that, whereas five years ago only
one in 10 people were affected by the threshold, in another five years
this will be reduced to one in every eight. A properly drafted Will
would help reduce or even eliminate inheritance tax liability, yielding
potential savings of up to Pounds Sterling 105,000, according to
Cheshire solicitor, Grace & Co. Yet figures from the Probate Office
reveal that around 70% of the adult population have not actually made a
Will, leading to potential problems and financial headaches for their
would-be beneficiaries.

Warrington-based Grace & Co Solicitors, which provides a nationwide
Wills & Probate service, says making a Will need not be time-consuming
nor expensive and offers a standard Will package for just Pounds
Sterling 50 plus VAT and virtually identical Mirror Wills for you and
your partner, at a discounted rate. It can also advise on setting up a
Discretionary Trust, which minimises inheritance tax payable by the
surviving spouse, and other tax saving measures. Moreover, unlike many
banks and will drafting firms, it will not charge for secure storage of
Wills, which otherwise attracts an annual fee.

To help people take the first step towards making a Will, Grace & Co has
published a free factsheet, answering frequently asked questions, which
is available on request or online at www.graceandco.co.uk, as well as a
straightforward, self-completed Will Questionnaire that speeds up the
process.

"People often think it's too soon or too morbid to make a Will, but if
you're old enough to drink, vote and hold down a job, then you certainly
should. Your Will should also be reviewed and updated regularly, to take
account of changed circumstances like getting married, divorced or
having children," says practice principal Joanne Grace.

"If you don't make a Will and die intestate, then your estate will be
distributed according to the law, which may mean those who you wished to
benefit may receive little or nothing at all", she adds. "Also, not
having a valid Will will mean obtaining letters of administration and
appointing an administrator, which can seriously delay paying out to
beneficiaries, at a time when they may need funds for settling funeral
and other expenses."

There is, of course, the option of preparing your own Will, using a
pre-printed form or Will writing kit, or employing the services of a
Will writing company, whose staff are not usually legally qualified.
However, badly-drafted documents often give rise to disputes, delays and
further expense. Instead, Grace & Co's qualified lawyers will provide a
fixed-price drafting service and the backing of professional indemnity
insurance should things ever go wrong. It also holds the original Will
in its secure storage facilities, for however long is needed at no extra
charge, and offers the services of a professional Executor to assist
nominated family members in administering the estate, at a time of
maximum stress and upset.

For those whose estates are likely to incur inheritance tax, taking into
account property, furnishings, car, savings, belongings and any death
benefits accruing from pensions or life policies, Grace & Co can also
advise on creating a Discretionary Trust. No inheritance tax is payable
on the first Pounds Sterling 263,000, known as the nil rate band, but it
is charged at 40% on the balance above this threshold. Since, however,
transfers between spouses are exempt, a will can be drafted to use both
spouses' nil rate bands, by redirecting part of the estate into a trust
for the children or others. Known as a Discretionary Trust, this still
allows the surviving spouse to gain access to funds if necessary,
although these could not be regarded as personal assets by a local
authority, if he or she has to go into long term care.

"Although America plans to abolish inheritance tax altogether in the
next few years, there are currently no plans to do so in this country,"
adds Joanne Grace. "So a Discretionary Trust Will offers a legitimate
means of minimising exposure to taxation and protecting the surviving
spouse against claims for care home funding. It also protects the
children if he or she remarries, since the second spouse cannot access
the trust assets."

The firm can additionally handle Probate applications and estate
administration, helping to relieve family representatives of the worries
and complexity of dealing with the deceased's assets and ensuring this
aspect is undertaken properly and effectively. A qualified lawyer will
liaise with banks, building societies, valuers and accountants to
ascertain and evaluate all assets, then prepare a statement for the
executors and apply to the Probate Registry for grant of probate, or
letters of administration if there is no Will. Tax returns will be
prepared for the Inland Revenue, then assets realised, any debts paid
off and the balance distributed to beneficiaries of the Will, with a
copy of the estate accounts provided for personal representatives.

Probate work is undertaken mainly through regular correspondence and
telephone calls or emails, to avoid the time and expense of unnecessary
meetings, and Grace & Co will provide an estimate of likely costs at the
outset.

Further enquiries to Grace & Co, Aztec House, 20 Froghall Lane,
Warrington, Cheshire WA2 7JR, telephone 01925 242488, email
jgrace@gracepi.co.uk

ends

Press Contact David Gent Creative
Tel 01706 220388 Fax 01706 215849 Email david@davidgent.com








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