Wills Solicitors in Tonbridge

It does not matter how many times you revisit your original will to update it and make changes. The most important factor is that you have one in existence in the first place so that when the time comes, your wishes will posthumously be respected and carried out.

This can be with regard to funeral plans, asset distribution, donations, dependent responsibility and so on. There will need to be named individuals in the will who will act in certain roles, for example an executor who will have responsibility of administering the contents of the will.

If there is no one that you would deem suitable to undertake these responsibilities, then you can appoint a legal professional to act in this role.

Please do be aware that if you do not have a will, upon your death everything will be subject to the rules of intestacy which will dictate who can receive what, which may well not be how you would have chosen it to be.

At Bailey & Cogger, our sensitive expert will solicitors can assist with drafting and updating your will, as well as helping with all areas of lifetime planning, including making Lasting Powers of Attorney and setting up trusts.

Whatever your requirements, we can help you get the right documents in place to make your wishes clear and give you and your loved ones peace of mind for the future.

Book a free consultation with our will solicitors in Tonbridge

For a free 30-minute consultation with our experienced, friendly probate solicitors, please call us on 01732 353305 or use our simple contact form and we will get back to your quickly.

Bailey & Cogger Solicitors is now incorporated by Hatten Wyatt, meaning you can also access our will expertise through local offices in Chatham, Gravesend, Maidstone and Tenterden.

We can also offer meetings by Skype for clients who have to travel extensively or who now live abroad. In exceptional circumstances, home visits can also be arranged.

How our will solicitors can help you

Our wills and lifetime planning solicitors can:

  • draft a will to your exact requirements;
  • prepare a will at short notice, including at your hospital bed or over the telephone if you are abroad or suddenly become unwell;
  • apply to the Court of Protection for a statutory will on behalf of a relative who is unable to make a will in the normal way;
  • ensure the legal formalities needed to create a valid will are complied with;
  • take extra steps to ensure that everything is done properly where you have been diagnosed with deteriorating mental health;
  • prepare a letter of wishes to accompany your will to deal with matters like funeral arrangements and to explain any decisions that may come as a surprise to your family;
  • advise you on the best way to structure your affairs for tax planning to ensure you pay no more inheritance tax than necessary;
  • put in place arrangements for the protection of vulnerable beneficiaries, for example by setting up a trust; and
  • create a deed of variation to change the terms of a will or the rules of intestacy to make provision for other relatives or to save tax. 

There are several legal formalities that will need to be completed in the creation of a will which our expert Private Client solicitors can guide you through. If you have been diagnosed with a progressive mental illness such as Alzheimer’s or Dementia, additional checks will need to be made to verify your mental capacity at the time of making your will. This is to ensure that any decisions outlined in your will are made with your full understanding.

We can also assist with other matters to help you put your legal affairs in order, including the creation of a lasting power of attorney to enable you to appoint someone of your choosing to manage your affairs if you become unable to do so yourself through deterioration of mental or physical health.

Common questions about wills and lifetime planning

Do I need a will?

Everyone over the age of 18 should consider making a will, but it is particular important to do so in circumstances including where:

  • You are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting with an unmarried partner
  • Have children or other dependants
  • Own your own home
  • Have substantial savings, a pension, shares, investments and other valuable assets
  • Wish to set up a trust in the event of your death to provide from children under 18 and other vulnerable dependants

When should you make a will?

One of the most common mistakes people make is to put off making their will as they think they don’t really need one yet as they are too young, don’t have enough assets etc. While it is never too early for any adult to consider making a will, times when it is particularly worth making a will include:

  • When you get married or enter a civil partnership
  • When you start cohabiting with an unmarried partner
  • When you buy your first home
  • When you have children
  • If you inherit or otherwise acquire significant assets
  • If you become responsible for a vulnerable person who will need to be provided for in the event of your death
  • If you take a high risk job, such as serving in the armed forces
  • If you are diagnosed with a serious illness

What should you include in my will?

This will depend on your circumstances, but should typically include:

  • Exactly who you want to benefit from your estate
  • What each person should receive
  • Who should act as the Executor of your estate
  • Provision for setting up any trusts needed to provide for vulnerable dependants

It is a good idea to review your will at least every 5 years to ensure it still reflects your wishes. You will also need to update your will if you get married or enter a civil partnership as this will make any previous will invalid.

Additionally, you should review and consider updating your will if you experience any change to your personal circumstances (such as having children) or your financial circumstances (such as receiving a significant inheritance).

What happens if you don’t make a will?

If you don’t leave a valid will at the time of your death, you estate will be dealt with under the rules of intestacy.

Who inherits under intestacy rules will depend on the circumstances, including the value of the estate and what living relatives you have at the time of your death. This can mean your estate would go to people other than those you would have intended.

In general, intestacy rules favour any surviving spouses or civil partners you have (but not unmarried partners). This still applies even if you were going through a divorce or civil partnership dissolution at the time of your death.  Any living descendants will be next in line, followed by other living close relatives, such as siblings and parents.

You can use the government’s intestacy tool to see who stands to inherit if someone dies without a will.

How does Inheritance Tax work?

The basic rate of Inheritance Tax (IHT) is 40%, which is charged on the whole of your estate’s value above the ‘nil rate band’ (sometimes called the ‘Inheritance Tax threshold’).

The current nil rate band for England and Wales is £325,000, meaning the first £325,000 of your estate would be exempt from Inheritance Tax. There is an additional exemption of £175,000 for your first property. There will also normally be no Inheritance Tax due if you leave your entire estate to your spouse/civil partner.

There are various options to potentially reduce the Inheritance Tax burden on your estate, including making gifts before your death and tax-efficient vehicles such as trusts. Tax planning should therefore be part of your overall estate planning strategy.

Our wills pricing

Free initial appointment

We offer a free initial 30-minute appointment to discuss your requirements.  After that we can agree funding arrangements to suit your budget. For some cases involving the Court of

Protection legal aid may be available. 

Fixed fee will writing

For straightforward estates, we can offer a fixed fee will writing service, subject to your requirements.

Hourly rates for will writing & lifetime planning

For more complex wills and lifetime planning issues, we will charge an hourly rate based on the level of expertise required.

Why choose Bailey & Cogger Solicitors for wills and lifetime planning?

Our Private Client team is headed by Silviya Maclean, a highly experienced solicitor and fully qualified member of the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP), the worldwide professional association for expert practitioners in inheritance and succession planning.

We take pride in making clients feel at ease when dealing with matters people find confusing, intimidating and would often prefer not to think about. Our team are friendly, approachable and provide a welcoming service to put you at ease. We will ensure all of your questions are answered in plain English, so you can have confidence in the choices you make.

Our will solicitors advise people of all ages, from all backgrounds and with a variety of needs, including those with deteriorating mental health. Our team are committed to providing access to good legal advice to everyone who needs it.

We have offices in TonbridgeMaidstoneGravesendChatham and Tenterden where we can meet you to discuss your requirements.

Key contacts

Domonique MalyonSilviya Maclean

Book a free consultation with our will solicitors in Tonbridge

For a free 30-minute consultation with our experienced, friendly probate solicitors, please call us on 01732 353305 or use our simple contact form and we will get back to your quickly.

Bailey & Cogger Solicitors is now incorporated by Hatten Wyatt, meaning you can also access our will expertise through local offices in Chatham, Gravesend, Maidstone and Tenterden.

We can also offer meetings by Skype for clients who have to travel extensively or who now live abroad. In exceptional circumstances, home visits can also be arranged.

For further information please call to speak to one of our experts on 01732 353305