In this time of uncertainty, the health and welfare of individuals, their families and the wider community is a priority which we at MKB Law have structured our business on in order to address in a dedicated manner. Specialising in the areas of Wills, Estate & Tax planning and Succession as a whole, our lawyers are qualified Trust and Estates Practitioners (TEP).

Our private client team is on hand to help you navigate both your personal and business circumstances as efficiently as possible.

Private Client Services

Our team provides a bespoke and responsive service. From individual private clients, to business owners and investors, we will work closely with you to help you structure your affairs in the way that best suits your needs. We will work alongside your existing professional advisors including your accountant, financial advisor and, in certain circumstances, private banker to ensure that you receive coordinated and strategic advice.

As a firm, we work closely with our in-house departments, ensuring clients have all-round access to specialist advisors in areas such as family law, property, corporate and dispute resolution. All this is cohesively managed through your one main point of contact within the Private Client Team.

We understand that this is your experience, and commit ourselves to involving and consulting with you in every step of the process.

In addition to our wealth and succession planning expertise, we also frequently act as a professional executor or trustee and regularly advise family members when they take on these roles.

Wills and Estate Planning

Writing and curating bespoke Wills is an essential part of our business, and managing clients’ wishes for the distribution of their assets is at the forefront of what we do. Minimising taxes, disputes and delays after death, are areas which we have a vast experience in.

It is important for you to make a Will no matter how substantial or modest your estate is, and we recommend that Wills are updated at least every 5 years. Reasons to consider making a Will include:

Not having a will means that your wishes may not be fulfilled after death as the Rules of Intestacy will dictate how your possessions and assets are distributed when a detailed, valid and executed Will is not in place.

It may be possible to minimise the amount of inheritance tax payable on the value of your Estate.

Clarifying your wishes means that partners (even if unmarried) can avail of your wealth after your passing.

 Appoint Guardians to look after your children in the event that either one or both parents pass before they turn 18.

Your circumstances may have changed after a divorce, ill-health or loss of employment.

You may wish to create a long-term trust to benefit others after your death.

Capacity and Caring for the Elderly

Our specialist team offers advice and reassurance to individuals and their families in circumstances where a lack the capacity to make financial or personal decisions could arise, or has indeed already arisen. We can help you and your family to navigate both Controllership Applications and Applications for Registering an Enduring Power of Attorney with the Office of Care and Protection.

These are difficult decisions to make and we understand that they are often painful but necessary actions that may be required whether as a result of illness or old age.

We understand that decisions surrounding organising the legal aspects of you and your or your family’s personal legal matters can be daunting. At MKB Law, our experienced and pragmatic team will support you though every step of the process.

Our advice is tailored to meet our clients’ objectives whether that be tax efficiency, asset protection or succession planning. MKB Law prides itself on being a client focused firm with you, your family and your business always at the center of the process and experience.

Probate is a legal process which gives you the authority to deal with a deceased’s estate. The will of the deceased is proved in the court to be their last will and testament and a Grant of Probate is produced by the Court. The Grant of Probate is then used to administer the deceased’s estate. You will require a Grant of Probate in Northern Ireland when an individual’s sole assets are worth over £10,000 and they have died leaving a valid will.

One of the first steps when someone dies is to register their death to obtain their death certificate. Once you have the death certificate you need to establish if they had a will. If they had a will you will need to contact their solicitor to ascertain who their executor is.

It is an executor’s responsibility to make sure all debts of the deceased are paid and then to distribute the remainder of the estate in accordance with the instructions in the will.

For a straightforward small estate, Probate should not take any longer than 6 months, for a larger more complex estate, around 6 to 12 months. If there is inheritance tax to pay, then the estate must be completed within 12 months of the date of death as the tax payable is due within 12 months of death, otherwise there are penalties.

While you do not need to have a solicitor to carry out Probate, it can be very time consuming at an already difficult time, and a solicitor can take the burden away from the executors. You will need a solicitor if there is property involved to either transfer or sell the property.

Fees are based on the net value of the estate and are made up of the Court fees and professional fees. The Court fees include the grant fee and the personal application fee.

Net value of the estate Grant fee Personal application fee
less than £10,000 nil nil
more than £10,000 £261.00 £65.00

The personal application fee is only charged if you are applying for a grant without a solicitor. Certified copies of a grant cost £14.00 each. These are useful if you have to deal with several financial institutions.

The Belfast Solicitors’ Association recommends professional fees in this matter be based mainly on the amount of time expended and a percentage charge. Please contact us for further details.

A will should be made in order to distribute your assets to your family. It also means that you avoid the Statutory Rules on Intestacy. Making a Will allows you to appoint Executors to administer your estate of your behalf.  Your Executors will then be under an obligation to discharge any monies you owe or debts that you have by gathering in your assets and using these. They will then distribute your remaining assets in accordance with the terms of your Will.

If you pass away without a will, it can be a complicated process. There will be no instructions from the deceased as to how they want their estate distributed and no control over where the assets will go. The estate will be distributed in accordance with the legislation. Once a personal representative is established, they will apply for Letter of Administration on behalf of the estate of the deceased. These Letters of Administration will be used to administer the estate.

A straightforward simple Will should cost around £150 plus VAT.  If you require a more detailed Will involving Trust or Inheritance Tax Planning, this will be charged on a time basis – please contact us to discuss further.

A Trust is a legal instrument to appoint Trustees and for the transfer of assets to a Trust either during your lifetime or on your death through your Will. Trusts are governed by various pieces of legislation and most recently by the Trustee Act (Northern Ireland) 2001. Trusts have their own Tax Regime governed by HMRC and we always recommend that you seek specialist tax advice when considering setting up a trust – we can put you in touch with our network of tax specialists.

An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document created by the Enduring Powers of Attorney (Northern Ireland) Order 1987. It means that you can appoint Attorneys to act during your lifetime to manage your finances if you are mentally capable and subsequently become mentally incapable. There is a registration system through the Office of Care and Protection to activate the Enduring Power of Attorney if the Donor has become or in becoming mentally incapable.

If you have not executed an Enduring Power of Attorney and lose your mental capacity, then your next of kin can apply to the Office of Care and Protection to be appointed your Controller and you will be made a Patient of the Court. Annual accounts are required to be made to the Office of Care and Protection by your Controller to account for the expenditure of your assets and also to account for any income you may have. This can be an expensive process and we always advise that you consider putting an Enduring Power of Attorney in place while you still have capacity to avoid this expense coming down the line.

Gordon McElroy TEP
Director
gmce@mkblaw.co.uk
028 9099 3111

Lauren Fullerton TEP
Consultant
lf@mkblaw.co.uk
028 9099 3140

Aoife Hegarty
Solicitor
ah@mkblaw.co.uk
028 9099 3144

Experienced

Our experience and expertise allow our team to provide an unrivalled service to all clients.

Personal

Our personal understanding ensures our clients are at the forefront of our services.

Flexible

Our team provides clear legal guidance to complement your business structure.

Specialised

Our clients span all industries, from technology to agriculture and hospitality to renewables.

Or please call us on 028 9024 2450 or email info@mkblaw.co.uk

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