Wills and estate planning

Making a Will that's right for you

Charities and solicitors - a symbiotic relationship?

My firm has a deep involvement in working with charities and has recently been sounding out charity professionals, through work with the Institute of Legacy Management, about their views on the critical relationship between charities and the legal profession. That debate has informed this article, in which I enter (with some trepidation!) into the difficult question of the role of the legal profession, first when advising clients on the inclusion of charitable gifts in their Wills and then when administering an estate involving a gift to charity.

Stone King Lawyer Awarded Top International Legal Qualification

A solicitor at Bath law firm Stone King has received a distinction in a prestigious international legal qualification.

Dan Harris, who is a solicitor in the firm's trusts and estates team, is one of just 23 lawyers worldwide to have been awarded the Advanced Certificate in International Succession and Probate by the Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners (STEP). Still fewer have been awarded a distinction and Dan received the second highest score of all the entrants.

Stone King lawyer reveals secrets of successful divorce in new book

John Brownrigg, who heads Stone King's family law and mediation team in Bath, has written a new book to empower separating couples.

Divorce: Making it Work Better is a concise guide for people who are thinking – or in the process – of getting divorced. Far from being just a legal guide, it concentrates on helping couples take control of the divorce process to minimize conflict, protect their children, and save money.

Guide to Trusts in Wills

In October 2007 the Government announced the ‘transferable nil rate band’ between spouses or civil partners with immediate effect. This introduced a method of using the inheritance tax (IHT) nil rate bands of both spouses/civil partners even if they had omitted to take advantage of it themselves, either by making lifetime gifts, or using ‘Nil Rate Band Trusts’ in their Wills, or even if they failed to make a Will at all.

Basic Inheritance Tax Planning

What is Inheritance Tax (IHT)?

IHT is basically a “wealth tax” and has been around in one form or another since 1894 when Estate Duty was introduced. From 1975 to 1986 it was known as Capital Transfer Tax. IHT is charged during your lifetime or upon death at either the death rate (40%) or the lifetime rate (20%). Each individual has an allowance to IHT known as the “nil rate band” or NRB, which has been frozen at £325,000. This means that the first £325,000 of net assets within your estate is assessed to IHT at 0%.

Wills challenged due to ‘want of knowledge and approval’; a growing trend?

Two recent cases indicate a trend towards the Courts finding it difficult to declare a Will invalid due to the deceased lacking testamentary capacity but declaring them invalid under another ground of ‘want of knowledge and approval.’

The three limb test for testamentary capacity is set down in Banks-v- Goodfellow; the testator must


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