Future planning with our Wills, Trusts & Estate Solicitors

Discover the expertise of our specialist solicitors who are dedicated to providing exceptional services for Wills, Trusts, and Estate Planning. Trust us to protect the future of your estate.

It's common to procrastinate when it comes to writing a Will, but we at Pennine Law understand the risks of not doing so in time. A Will is the foundation for securing your assets and ensuring that your loved ones and future generations are taken care of. Don't wait any longer, start structuring your estate today.

How our Wills trusts & estate planning solicitors in Sheffield and Barnsley can help

We support people across Sheffield, Barnsley and the wider South Yorkshire area to plan and protect their wealth and estates. We also advise on a wide range of other lifetime planning matters. Our expertise includes:

  • Will Writing
  • Trust Wills
  • Property Protection Trusts
  • Asset Protection Trusts
  • Family Protection Trusts
  • Life Interest Trusts
  • Lifetime Trusts
  • Residential Care Fee Planning
  • Wills for Business Owners
  • Lasting Powers of Attorney
  • Court of Protection Applications

Get in touch with our Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning Solicitors in Sheffield and Barnsley today

Get in touch with our expert Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning Solicitors in Sheffield and Barnsley.

We have local offices across Sheffield in Penistone, Attercliffe, Gleadless and Hillsborough, plus offices in Barnsley town centre and Hoyland.

Give us a call at your nearest branch or fill in our online enquiry form and we’ll give you a call back as soon as possible.

How to start thinking about estate planning?

Thinking about estate planning and writing a Will questions your own mortality. It’s not a nice subject to think about, but it’s better for you to make your choices on how you want your wealth to be distributed, rather than leave it to the rules of someone else.

Contrary to popular belief, your spouse or civil partner may not be entitled to inherit everything you own. If you are unmarried, surviving partners have no automatic right to inherit. In cases where there are no relatives, the estate goes to the crown.

Thinking about estate planning raises potentially difficult questions; who would look after your kids if both parents were to die? How do you want your assets to be shared? Do you want to exclude people from your Will?

Understand your personal wealth

You don’t need to know the exact value of everything you own down to the penny, but you should have a good idea of what you own. As well as being part of the leading test for testamentary capacity, this can help with understanding if you expect to leave your beneficiaries an inheritance tax liability.

Generally, if you’re married or living together, then lots of assets will be owned jointly with your spouse/partner. It’s a good idea to talk things through together and consider what you are both worth together. If you’re not married/civil partnered, then you will have lower limits of the nil-rate band for inheritance tax.

It’s worth understanding your own wealth to work out what inheritance tax liability, if any, you would leave behind. There are ways to try and mitigate your inheritance tax liability, but as Solicitors, we don’t have a magic solution to make inheritance tax disappear.

It’s a good idea to know the details of your pensions and any life insurance too. These should be considered when writing your Will. Although the benefit is usually nominated and therefore falls outside of your estate for the purpose of your Will.

Wills can use complicated, old-fashioned language. But really, they are simple documents. A professional Will Writer or Solicitor will help you understand the terminology being used.

What about your children?

If you have children, you could leave everything to them. If your children are under 18, you could leave everything in trust and appoint trustees to look after the trust until your children become adults. You may wish to add some instructions to the trust, such as delaying your children’s inheritance until they are 25 or allowing the money held in trust to provide for your children while they are under 18.

If you have children under the age of 18, you will need to think about whom you will appoint as their guardians. This is a huge decision to make, and it is a big ask of anyone you choose. Talk to those you would want to appoint as guardians before you add them to your Will.

If you don’t have children, you may want to consider where your estate will go.

Funeral wishes

Think about your funeral wishes. These can be included in your Will. You can be specific about the type of funeral you want. Burial or cremation, graveside or committal. You could specify where you want to be buried or where you want your ashes spread. You could leave instructions for a wake, viewing or memorial service.

You can also decide if you want to donate any part of your body for transplants or medical science.

How to discuss your Will with your family

Talking about your Will is likely going to be awkward. Talking about death is never pleasant. But talking things through will help save potential arguments after your death. Plan a time to talk and make time to discuss it without rushing. Springing a discussion about your death on family members might not go down well.

Choose somewhere comfortable to talk. For some, this will be at home, for others, it could be somewhere over lunch. Pick somewhere that fits the personality of you and your family.

Key considerations when estate planning

Having made the decision to write your Will, there are many things to think about before inking your quill (we don’t really use a quill, but Will writing can sometimes involve some antiquated language).

Anyone over 18, and of sound mind can write a Will. You don’t have to use a solicitor or a Will writer. However, it is easy to make mistakes if you write your Will yourself. These errors will only be discovered after you have died, leaving your loved ones to pick up the pieces.

There are specific requirements in relation to the drafting, signing and witnessing of a Will.

Think about your assets

Make a list of all your assets and their values, i.e., property, savings, and investments. Do you have pensions or life insurance? By understanding what your wealth is, you can determine whether the writing of your Will should be carried out alongside financial or tax planning.

Who will execute your Will?

You will need to specify whom you would like to be the executor of your Will. It’s a good idea to talk to them before writing your Will to ensure they are comfortable with the task you are asking them to do.

It is common to detail a spouse, partner or grown-up children to be an executor. However, if your children do not get along, it may be worth appointing an impartial executor or a professional. You can appoint a solicitor to act as an executor for you, but you do not have to.

If you only appoint one executor, you may wish to consider a substitute executor in the event that the first executor is unable to take on the task of distributing your estate.

Will you need any Trustees?

If you are leaving some or all of your estate to a trust, then you need to appoint someone to look after it. It’s common for executors and trustees to be one and the same people. Being a trustee could potentially be a long-term commitment.

If for example, you are leaving your estate in trust for children under the age of 18, the trustees will manage their inheritance until they reach the age where they will inherit what was left for them.

If you have young children, you will need to consider naming guardians in your Will. Guardians will look after your children’s welfare until they are 18. They can be different to the named executors and trustees, but it’s recommended that they should be able to get along with each other.

Trustees should ensure that the guardians are not left out of pocket while caring for your children. You should talk to your proposed guardians before you write your Will to ensure that are willing to take on such a role.

Think about your property

Do you own your own home? There are different ways to own your home with your spouse/partner that can have different consequences when one of you dies. It is possible to mitigate the impact of care fees in some circumstances to keep your family home for your family. If this could be of interest, talk to us about Property Protection Trust Wills.

Do you own any property abroad?

If you have property abroad, you will need advice regarding ‘forced heirship’ rules which could stop you from leaving your property to who you want to.

Do you have your business interests?

If you run your own business, there could be some difficult decisions to be made about what happens after your death. Who can take over if your family relies on your business income and you can’t run the business anymore? Is there someone in the family who could run the business? It would be wise to consider business succession at an early stage.

Could the business/shares be sold to financially provide for your family? Have you considered Key Person Insurance? Whatever your worries, our commercial lawyers will be able to help you find a solution.

Inheritance tax or care fee planning

Couples who own their own home may be able to protect their share of the family home from being used to pay for the surviving spouse or partner’s care fees after death. If there are assets other than the home, these could be protected too.

There might also be inheritance tax planning opportunities with charity, agricultural and business property relief.

Couples who are not married will not benefit from the inheritance tax transferable nil-rate band. Instead, you may wish to consider the use of nil-rate discretionary trusts in your Will. Passing your primary residence to your direct descendants (children, grandchildren) will afford you an additional £175,000 inheritance tax allowance.

Consider writing your Will alongside other ways of putting your affairs in order

Lasting Powers of Attorney can help ensure that your affairs can be managed during your lifetime should you become unable to make decisions for yourself. You don’t need to predict the future, but you can plan for it. Our Power of Attorney solicitors can help you plan for every possibility and put in place the right documents so that people you trust can provide the support you need, if and when you need it.

You can make arrangements for the passing of undrawn pensions, SSAS and SIPPs. Now is a good time to review life insurance policies. Do your policies cover you for your liabilities?

It is also a good idea to check that investments are still achieving what you want them to.