Estate Planning Services

Estate Planning means


Of your assets and finances

A large part of financial freedom is having your heart and mind free from worry about the “what-if’s” of life.

This is achieved by having an appropriate Estate or Legacy Plan in place.

At Cranfield Legal Services (CLS) the Legacy Plans we create for clients are designed around their own personal circumstances. Each plan is drafted to ensure our clients estates pass only to their chosen beneficiaries without undue delay or cost. All our legal drafting is done by a barristers within one of the country’s most successful and renowned Chambers (7 Harrington St Chambers).

CLS is an approved corporate partner of the Legal Services Guild and all CLS’ consultants are accredited Barristers Intermediaries. This means that they have passed exams accredited by the Bar Council and received specific training in Estate Planning and Inheritance Tax Planning.

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Estate Planning Services

What are your needs?Estate planning for business owners
People are living longer and family structures are becoming more complex. There are a number of “what ifs” that can affect your inheritance wishes.

Sideways Disinheritance

It is now all too common that despite the wishes of many parents the inheritance that they wish their children to receive is diverted due to an extensive range of common eventualities.

  • Remarriage of a surviving spouse following the death of the beneficiary;
  • Divorce of a beneficiary;
  • Premature death of a beneficiary;
  • Beneficiary suffers financial hardship;
  • The introduction of stepchildren or, step grandchildren.

Loss of Capacity

With an aging population, clients are now far more likely to suffer temporary or permanent loss of capacity meaning that they are unable to manage their own affairs, often for long periods of time. The process for a trusted person to take over without a Lasting Power of Attorney in place is protracted, intensely bureaucratic and can be expensive.

For business owners it is particularly essential that a Trusted Adviser has the authority and ability to take over their business affairs should they be unable to manage them for themselves.

Cost and Delays of Probate

Typically, the professional fees for probate are 2% of the estate value; that’s £6,500 for the “average” estate. The probate process takes an average of 6-9 months and any fees will be deducted from the estate prior to loved ones receiving their inheritance.

Your Will

A will is a vital legal document but in so many cases a simple will is just not enough to protect and ensure your wishes are respected or certain to happen. There are too many variables in your life and the lives of your beneficiaries to be certain your wishes will happen.

Ensuring your estate remains within your bloodline and is not lost to people you may not even have met and is not then subject to Generational Tax as it passes to your grandchildren involves more planning than a simple will.

In essence a will simply states on paper what you hope will happen to the assets you have strived to build up during your lifetime after you die, but it can’t ensure that you leave a legacy for your future generations that you can be certain will happen.

Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)

Without an LPA in place a family member who becomes incapable of making their own decisions become the responsibility of the Court of Protection and often all their financial and medical affairs will be decided by the local authority. To regain control relatives will need to apply and pay the fees applicable for a Deputyship order; this is a very lengthy process and is not even guaranteed to be granted. A simple bit of planning can prevent you ever being a burden on your family should the ability to make your own decisions be taken away from you by allowing someone you trust to take over your affairs.

Cost & Delays of Probate

Typically, the professional fees for probate are about 2% of the estate value: that’s £6,000 for the “average” estate. The probate process takes an average of 6-9 months and the fees associated with the process more and more often have to be paid by the beneficiaries before they can receive their inheritance. The estate itself cannot be part released to satisfy fee demands.

The provision of Estate Planning is not just to resolve the issues around your personal estate. The right Estate Plan will also cover those business assets that need to be taken into account.

Lasting Powers of Attorney

It is essential that business owners have someone that they can rely on if they lose capacity, that understands the business, appreciates what they were trying to achieve and can make decisions for the business on an informed basis.

Sole Trader Protection

A major issue for sole traders is the linking of their business liabilities to their personal assets. With the right Estate Plan a sole trader could ring fence their own assets away from their business liabilities, protecting them should the business fall into financial difficulty.

Using Trusts to Reward Key Employees

Many businesses would like to reward loyal members of staff by giving them some form of shares. For most businesses this is never an option because if that employee leaves the business it becomes extremely difficult (and expensive) to recover the shares.

By utilising a trust, placing shares in it and making the member a beneficiary of the trust, the benefit of owning the shares (e.g. dividends) for the employee, whilst the business owner retains control of the shares.

Protecting Family and Business partners

Should a partner or shareholder of a business die, the surviving partners or shareholders could end up with partners or shareholders they o not want. Similarly, the beneficiary under a will may end up with a share of a business they do not know about or understand. Another problem might be that the business cannot afford to purchase the shares from the beneficiary. The use of trusts can be a very effective way of dealing with such issues. By granting the right to receive a dividend to the beneficiary for a set period of time with the trust