A dozen good deeds they’ll do for you
Most of us have heard of lawyers, solicitors or barristers, right? But a Paralegal? No, it’s not a slang term for an extremely drunk legal professional (well, there are a few of those). In short, Paralegals offer legal advice on a whole range of issues. They carry out important research on behalf of clients and prepare a whole host of vital legal documents. So a Paralegal is not a lawyer but can be employed by a law office or work freelance. So they’ll come and visit you in the comfort of your own home. They will give you sound legal advice, should you need it. Time to get a brew on.
At Wills & Legal Services, we pride ourselves on being a national Specialist Paralegal Law Firm. We have more than 20 qualified Paralegals throughout England and Wales. From Cardiff to Crewe, Pembroke to Plymouth and Southampton to Sunderland, we’re providing a trusted, unrivalled national service. We offer people advice and packages on a range of life choices. No one really wants to worry about the thought of dying. But we all have very specific wishes that we hope would be respected.
Our Paralegals understand this. They are highly qualified and able to explain all our services to you in plain English. Without any unnecessary legal jargon. Relax, you’re in safe hands.
But, we hear you cry, what are the services a Paralegal could help you with? Although Paralegals specialise in many areas, ours are Later Life Estate Planning specialists. They are experts in things such as Will Writing, Mental Incapacity, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Trusts, Probate and Care Fee Advice.
Here are a dozen services our Paralegals offer – call it our…
12 good deeds for the day
Research tells us that around 70% of UK adults don’t bother making a Will. People believe everything they have will go directly to their partner or children. Sadly, this isn’t the case. If you die without making a Will, your estate will be distributed under the Law of Intestacy. Consequently, this can sometimes leave your children without any of your estate. A worrying thought, we’re sure you’ll agree. A Paralegal guides you through the process and ensures that your wishes have been recorded as you’d like them.
2. Lasting Powers of Attorney
Who do you trust more – your family or the local council? If you choose your family, you must put your Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place. This will give you peace of mind that you’ve taken care of the things that matter most . An LPA is a powerful legal document enabling you to appoint a trusted individual of your choice (an Attorney). They will handle your affairs on your behalf if you can’t look after yourself through mental or physical incapacity. Our Paralegals ensure that your LPA reflects your wishes and needs.
3. Property Protection Trust (PPT)
A major concern for many people is their home is used to fund care costs in later life. And this costs a lot of money This may happen if you have just made a simple mirror Will. On first death, your home will default to the survivor. If the survivor then goes into care and no other assets are available to fund the care costs, your local council steps in. They will means-test 100% of the property value and may request sale of the property. You don’t want to lose the home you’ve built up over years and years, do you? Don’t worry – a Paralegal can put in place a PPT to help you protect your share of the home. This ensures that it’s passed on to the people you care about.
4. Family Protection Trust
Probate costs and administration, children inheriting at the wrong time, sideways disinheritance, claims on the estate, care and children’s inheritance tax (IHT). These are all problems your estate might face. A Paralegal will tackle all these issues head-on, and leave you assured you’ve done the best by your family.
5. Estate Protection Packages
These are designed to give you total peace of mind. The majority of people update their Will multiple times during their lifetime, as circumstances and families change. Our Paralegals will set up your Estate Protection Package and contact you annually to review your Will. This provides you with as many updates as you need.
6. Rights of Occupation
You’ll get a legal document allowing you to ensure that loved ones are catered for. They are able to remain in your property after your death, despite not being the ultimate beneficiary. This is useful in the instance of a remarriage, where you leave your property to your children. You want your new spouse to remain living in it, or to protect a child still living at home.
7. Severance of tenancy
The majority of couples hold their property in joint names – Beneficial Joint Tenants. For a relatively small investment in your Estate Planning you can sever the tenancy. You become Tenants in Common, each owning half the property. Upon your death you can pass your half to beneficiaries and protect it from loss to pay for care fees for your surviving spouse. This work requires the additional service of Right of Occupation.
8. Declaration of Trust
This prevents misunderstandings and family fallouts in the future. A Paralegal creates a legal document for you which details if an agreement has been made within the family. This could be for financial, property, or material items. Often a Declaration of Trust is used where two or more parties own uneven percentages of a property, or for loans between family members.
9. Storage facilities
Don’t panic, our trusted Paralegals won’t leave your Will or Lasting Powers of Attorney on the kitchen worktop at home next to the cat’s food bowl. These are the most important documents that you own, and so we recommend storing them away from home in a fireproof vault. Wills and Legal Services currently stores more than 33,000 original client Wills in our on-site bank vault. Quite literally safe as houses.
10. Deed of Variation
This allows the beneficiaries of a Will, after death, to vary the details of the Will. So this ensures that the deceased estate is distributed with the beneficiaries’ wishes. For instance, when a child chooses to pass their inheritance to a grandchild rather than taking it themselves, to avoid an inheritance liability. Consequently, our Paralegals offer this service as part of the package when they make their home visit.
11. Discretionary Will Trust
Most people don’t choose when they are going to die, which means most beneficiaries can’t choose when they receive their inheritance. But when the time comes it may not be the best time. Our Paralegals can create a Discretionary Will Trust (created on death) for you. Therefore, instead of leaving an inheritance to beneficiaries directly, the money won’t form part of the estate and is protected against threats such as divorce or bankruptcy.
12. Disability/Vulnerable Beneficiary Trust
Trustees of a discretionary trust have the ability to use the capital and income from the trust on a discretionary basis. You decide the beneficiaries of the trust and the distribution of the fund is left to the Trustees. Discretionary Trusts are useful when leaving funds to vulnerable or disabled beneficiaries. Therefore, our Paralegals ensure that provision for children under 18 is placed in a Child Trust, providing financial support.
We have helped thousands of clients
What makes the work of our Paralegals unique – and the reason why we have thousands of people committing to our legal packages – is the fact that we’re helping charities, too. Our specialist Paralegals write Wills free of charge, in exchange for a donation to one of our chosen charities.
To date, our Charity Wills campaigns have raised more than £1 million in donations for local and national charities, plus over £2.5 million in legacies.
Our recommended donation in exchange for your charity Will
This is usually £40. However, this is optional and you can donate as much or as little as you like. To sum up, whatever you choose to give, 100% of the donation goes directly to the charity.