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Private Client

Private Client

Service overview

Our private client lawyers provide expert, clear and succinct advice on planning, structuring and protecting your and your family’s wealth, assets and affairs.

We commonly deal with preparation of wills, trusts and powers of attorney. In each case we develop a detailed picture of your circumstances and objectives, working closely with any other advisers you have (including accountants, financial advisers, financial planners and family offices), and help you to find any that you need, to ensure that we deliver comprehensive solutions which work for you.

We also review any existing estate, tax and international wealth arrangements you have in place, such as assets held in SPVs and offshore vehicles, to help you assess whether these continue to be fit for your purposes now and in the foreseeable future.

Key contacts
Rose Varsani
Deena Iqbal
Partner, Head of Private Client
Brian Eagles
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Private Client

Service highlights

Simple Wills can be useful for assets under a million pounds where for example a husband and wife may wish to leave everything outright to each other, and on the death of the second to be split between children. Some people like the simplicity of these will structures. You can name your spouse or partner or even adult children as executors if they are mature enough. The downside is that if one of your children happens to be divorcing at the time you die ,then their share would need to be disclosed in divorce proceedings, and would be taken into consideration in division of matrimonial assets. There is therefore no protection of your assets down your bloodline.
Many families now function on a second relationship basis where a couple may have children from previous relationships and a new spouse or partner. Where the couple is married, there is a legal duty to make some provision for each other. However there is often a keen desire to preserve capital for children from a previous relationship.

There are different ways of achieving this. Either through a life interest trust where interest only can be passed to the spouse ,but they can also retain the right to live in their property until they die. This is quite a rigid structure and there can be a tax penalty if the spouse decides to give up their right.

A flexible life interest trust can be discretionary in nature which can achieve the above, but have certain tax advantages. Your choice of executor is particularly important here.
These are appropriate for assets over two or three million pounds. They can operate as a vehicle for inheritance tax planning and a means of preserving wealth down your blood line. If drafted carefully they can offer protection of your monies in the event of divorce of the beneficiaries. They can also protect your monies against creditors if one of the beneficiaries has a failing business, and it can protect the beneficiaries to some extent against predatory third parties.
If you are entering into a surrogacy arrangement you should take specialist advice as to your Wills. If you were to die before the parental order is put in place, the child born of the surrogacy arrangement would not benefit under your standard Will. We would tailor the Will to your needs and cover issues such as frozen embryos for couples who have had IVF. It is important that you contact us in this instance to secure your intended family’s security before you become legal parents. The Will would endure beyond the surrogacy arrangement and after you have become legal parents.
Lasting Powers of Attorney or LPAs are quite possibly the most important legal document that you will draw up in your lifetime. They would be needed if you are to lose your mental capacity. Once capacity is lost it is too late to put them in place, and you would need a court order which can be slow to obtain. There are two documents that you should put in place. One deals with your finances and the other with your health.

It is important that you choose attorneys that you trust to manage your monies when you are not able to do so. As well as advising you, we believe it is important to advise the attorneys as to their duties and obligations and what they can and cannot do. Attorneys must prioritise you and your needs, and in the event that you lose capacity, gifting and inheritance tax planning is usually too late. We believe it is important that you are well informed to appoint the right people who will be making significant decisions about managing your finances. They may also need to make major health related decisions such as decisions about life sustaining treatment.
We provide advice to help you assess whether lifetime trusts or Will trusts would be useful to help you manage your assets for the benefit of your family in a tax efficient way. We can then draw up the trusts and advise the trustees. We also deal with the ongoing administration of trusts on behalf of families. Trusts can be set up during your lifetime or on death, and they can be used to balance competing interests of family members particularly on second marriages.
We act for personal representatives and executors in the UK with all aspects of applying for a grant of probate and as needed in connection with the administration of estates. We also advise in relation to contested probate as well as any intestacy and legacy issues.
We understand that property can be one of your most significant assets and approach your transactions accordingly. We build a full picture of your requirements, and explain legal terminology and processes to you in straightforward language. Our property lawyers have a wealth of experience and deliver pragmatic, creative and commercially astute solutions that bring your objectives to successful completion.
We deal with all aspects of family law and are accustomed to dealing with cases involving sensitive and complex issues, and high profile individuals. We act for high net worth individuals from all walks of life and their partners. Much of our work has an international flavour and we often deal with cross-jurisdictional issues.
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