The importance of planning ahead for the future should never be underestimated. We appreciate that the idea of making a Will can be difficult to talk about. However, if you don’t, it can lead to problems later down the line.

Once you have made a Will, it is essential that you keep it up to date. Circumstances, as well as the law, can change. Each and every family is different and will have its own dynamics.

There are significant dangers if you choose not to make a Will, and there are many misconceptions as to who gets what. Find out what would happen on your death.

Unmarried Partners – the idea of a ‘common law spouse’ is not recognised in law and there are no automatic rights for unmarried partners. This means that your partner would not inherit anything from you, and they could be forced to go to Court.

Spouses/Civil Partners – don’t always inherit everything. It depends on whether there are any children.

Children – the amount that children receive depends on whether there is a surviving spouse or civil partner. In some circumstances, it is possible that children don’t receive anything at all. By making a Will, you control how and when your children inherit. You can also appoint guardians to ensure that they are cared for if something happens to you.

We frequently assist people who feel that they have been unfairly missed out from an inheritance, and also Executors of an Estate where they have received a challenge to a Will.

Please contact us for details of our fixed fees.

Tax, Succession Planning and Care

When making Wills, many people are concerned with their Inheritance Tax liability and potential care fees.

With careful lifetime planning, exposure to Inheritance Tax can be reduced, and in some cases extinguished altogether.

For business owners and individuals with agricultural assets, there are special reliefs which can lead to significant tax savings. This can mean the difference between a business passing onto the next generation, or having to be broken up to pay the tax bill. Understanding the rules and planning accordingly during your lifetime is key. Likewise, for those contemplating retirement from a family business, a managed and tax efficient exit strategy is crucial for you and your family’s financial security.

We work with you and your other professional advisors to make sure that you can pass your business smoothly and tax efficiently.

If you are concerned about care fees, we can explain how you could be affected, and help you plan accordingly. This may be via your Will, financial planning, Lasting Powers of Attorney, or a combination of all of these.

Please contact us for details of our fees.

Probate & Administration of Estates after death

The death of a loved one, family member or friend is a distressing enough time as it is, without having to deal with the legal issues that arise as a result.

We have a wealth of expertise in dealing with Administration of Estates and obtaining Grants of Probate. We also regularly deal with situations where there isn’t a Will, to help people obtain a Grant of Letters of Administration.

Administering an Estate is a big responsibility, which leaves you open to financial liability if things go wrong or if you fail to follow the law. There are many reasons why you may decide to seek professional help. You may feel that you do not have the expertise to deal with matters after a death, feel that you do not have the time to do so, or feel that you do not have the emotional space. All of these reasons are valid.

We fully understand that every situation is different and we, on every occasion, agree a tailored approach that suits the needs of your family, depending on how much experience you have in dealing with these types of situation.

Inheritance Tax is complex and it is easy to miss out on available exemptions and reliefs, which can dramatically reduce Inheritance Tax. These should not be taken lightly and we encourage you to contact us regardless of how simple or complex the circumstances are. If the Estate contains business or agricultural property, it is essential that you take advice.

A conversation with us could potentially save thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of pounds.

For further information on estate administration costs, key stages and timescales, please click on the button below.


Trusts are established for many reasons, but are generally for the purpose of safeguarding assets and/or protecting beneficiaries. Trusts have historically also been used for Inheritance Tax planning.

Trusts can be created in your Will or during your lifetime. If you want to create a trust, it is important to take specialist advice. There are many different types of trust. We can help you choose the type of trust which best suits your needs.

Once a Trust has been created, the Trustees have certain legal obligations, and specific legal documents may be required to record and implement their decisions. If the trust is not administered correctly, a Trustee can be personally liable for their acts, or for failing to act.

We can create Trusts and advise Trustees to ensure that they comply with all of their legal obligations.

Please contact us for details of our fees.

Lasting Powers of Attorney for individuals and business owners

Many people associate Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) with becoming elderly. This could not be further from the truth.

A Lasting Power of Attorney allows you to appoint one or more persons to deal with your affairs should you be unable to do so. This could be as a result of illness or injury, which can strike anyone at any age.

There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney; one deals with your financial affairs, and the other relates to health and welfare decisions. The people that you choose to appoint will make decisions for you in your best interests; they are the people who can speak for you when you can’t.

If you are a business owner, you should ensure that you have Lasting Powers of Attorney for financial affairs, which have been prepared with both your business and personal needs in mind. This will ensure the smooth running of your business in the event that you lose capacity. This protects not just you and your family, but potentially your business partners and employees as well.

Lasting Powers of Attorney are extremely useful documents which are much better to have and not need, than to need and not have. All of our team agree that making Lasting Powers of Attorney is more important than making a Will.

If you were to lose mental capacity without making a Lasting Power of Attorney, the only route for your family is to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order.  This can be a very stressful experience. You will also have very little control over who is appointed. LPAs allow a person of your choosing to step in without delay.

Deputyship & Court of Protection

Deputyship is required where someone lacks capacity to make decisions for themselves and have not appointed an attorney. The proposed Deputy is required to make an application to the Court of Protection, who will then consider and, hopefully, approve their appointment. Most Deputyships are in relation to financial affairs, but it is possible to make applications for health matters as well.

After a Deputy is appointed, the Court of Protection is responsible for their supervision. The Deputy will generally be required to submit reports to the Court.

There are other times when you may need to apply to the Court of Protection on behalf of an incapacitated person. These include:

  1. Trustee applications for sale of joint property; and
  2. Attorney and Deputy applications for the approval of gifts or Inheritance Tax planning strategies

We can support you in establishing whether an application to the Court of Protection is required, and assist you with any application and provide ongoing support once an Order is made.

For all of our services, we can provide home/hospital/hospice visits upon request.

Fees for Court of Protection applications from £600 including VAT (plus Court fees etc.). Please contact us for further details.

The National Will Register

A survey commissioned by The National Will Register showed that two-thirds of UK adults did not know where to find their parents’ Will or if they had made one at all.

If a Will can’t be found after your death then your assets will be distributed in accordance with the intestacy rules, not necessarily in the way you would have wished.

At Samuel Phillips Law, any new Wills written (Silver and Gold Package) will be registered on The National Will Register.

The National Will Register is the UK’s Will Registration and Will Search Service with over 10 million Wills in the system. It exists to ensure no Will is left unknown or untraced at the time it is needed.

Your Will stays safely with Samuel Phillips Law. The Wills Register does not store a copy of your Will or disclose that you have a Will or that it is registered. However, if so some reason in the future, your executors, beneficiaries, or family cannot find your Will or forget where the original was written and stored, they can search for it. Their search enquiry is then sent to the solicitor where the Will is registered.

Only when the solicitor is happy that the searcher is an Executor or beneficiary, and can provide a death certificate, will the Will be discussed.

The Will Search Service is proven to reduce the risk of distributing an estate during probate on an assumed intestacy basis or when a Will or later Will may exist. There are many reasons why a Will may have been forgotten about, maliciously destroyed, or where an unknown later copy exists.

The National Will Register is endorsed by the Law Society of England and Wales.

Frequently asked questions

  • When should I make a Lasting Power of Attorney (“LPA”)?

  • Can I get a Lasting Power of Attorney for my mother/father (“LPA”)?

  • I want to put my property into a trust, is this a good idea?

  • When I die everything will go to my partner and children automatically, so why should I make a Will?

  • Do I really need a solicitor to go through the probate process?

  • Why should I use a solicitor to make a Will?

Meet the Wills, Probate & Trusts team

  • Felicity Nelson

    Senior Associate and Head of Wills, Probate & Trusts

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  • Peter Durham

    Associate - Wills, Probate & Trusts

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  • Brooke March

    Trainee Solicitor - Wills, Probate and Trusts

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  • Matthias Fielder

    Trainee Solicitor - Wills, Probate and Trusts

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  • Hazel Chapman

    Legal Secretary - Wills, Probate and Trusts

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  • Harriet Mayambala

    Legal Secretary - Wills, Probate and Trusts

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