Employment Settlement Agreements Plymouth by Evans Harvey Solicitors Plymouth

Stephen John Hall LL.B Hons - DIRECTOR

Director, Solicitor and Head of Private Client Department, Conveyancing Department and Civil Department

Stephen qualified as a solicitor in 1988 and is currently Head of the Private Client Department involved in General Probate Administration, preparation of Wills, Lasting Power of Attorneys and Deputyship applications to the Court of Protection. Stephen also has a particular interest, and has many years’ experience, both in Civil, Personal Injury including asbestos related claims and contested Inheritance Act disputes.

Stephen is also a member of the Solicitors for the Elderly Group (SFE). Stephen is also chairman of the Crownhill Village Networking Group who strive to promote businesses and address concerns of local residents and businesses within the Crownhill and surrounding area.


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Wills | Probate | Inheritance Claims

Most people understand the necessity of having a last Will. Even if you're young and just starting out, you have some assets, so it's important to have a last Will. As you acquire more assets or start a family, the importance of amending your Will grows.

Unfortunately there are many misconceptions about how Wills and other estate planning documents work. Don't let unfamiliarity stop you from properly planning your estate. Here are some frequently asked questions & answers.

A Will is a document which allows you to decide how your money and property will be distributed after your death and who should deal with the administration of your estate. To be valid, it must be signed by you and witnessed by two people. The witnesses must see you sign the Will and then sign it themselves.

What if I don't make a Will?

Evans Harvey Wills & Probate Solicitors Plymouth

If you die without a valid Will the law will determine how your money and property is distributed. This will depend on many factors such as whether or not you are married or have children, and the value of your estate, but the result might not be what you want or expect.

  • If you are married with children your spouse may have to share the estate with your children
  • If you die while your children are young they will inherit your estate on reaching 18
  • If you are not married your partner will not be entitled to anything
  • If you have lost touch with your closest relatives they will have to be found before the estate can be administered
  • If you have no close relatives your estate will go to the Crown

Why should I get a solicitor to make my Will?

Evans Harvey Wills & Probate Solicitors Plymouth

Whilst it is not a legal requirement, to have a Will drafted or witnessed by a solicitor. It is generally advised that you should use a solicitor to make, or at the bare minimum check your Will. There are certain requirements in making a legally valid Will, and errors can be costly financially and in time spent administering your estate and obtaining Probate.

Here are a few common mistakes

Evans Harvey Wills & Probate Solicitors Plymouth

A common misconception is that, if you are married, your spouse will automatically inherit all of your estate. This is not necessarily true. If you do not have a Legal Will then the law will decide what happens to your money and it may not be what you want.

The failure to account for all money, property, investments and pensions.

To take into consideration the possibility to a beneficiary pre-deceasing the person who has made the Will.

Amending or altering a Will without witnesses.

The effects of divorce, dissolution of a civil partnership, a new civil partnership or marriage.

The list above is just a small sample of the pit falls waiting for those who have a Will that is in actual fact NOT a legal document.

How do I make a Will?

Evans Harvey Wills & Probate Solicitors Plymouth

Evans Harvey Solicitors Wills and Probate department deal with all aspects of Wills, estate planning and administration, including tax advice and trusts. The process is usually quite straightforward and should only take a short time to prepare your new Will. During an initial meeting with one of our Wills and Probate specialists we will ask what you want to happen on your death and give advice on the best way to achieve what you wish to happen as a result of your Last Will.

Before the initial meeting it's a good idea to think about what you want included in your Will, things that you should consider:

  • Your assets, how much money and what property and possessions of value you have
  • Who do you wish to benefit from your Will and Estate
  • Who should look after any children under 18 years of age
  • Who will administer your estate and carry out your wishes after your death, the executor of your Will

Evans Harvey Solicitors will then draft your Will and send it to you for approval. We will answer any queries and make any changes to the draft Will and we will then prepare the final Will for signature. It is essential that the correct procedure is followed when signing the Will, so we recommend that you come back to us for another meeting to sign it, if that is difficult to arrange, we can send the Will to you with instructions to follow.

We will then store the Will for you and provide you with photocopies to keep at home. This is to ensure that the Will is kept safe and is not accidentally lost or damaged, we do not charge for this service.

What is probate?

Evans Harvey Wills & Probate Solicitors Plymouth

Probate is the method by which the executors or administrators obtain the court's permission to deal with the deceased's person's estate (collecting assets, paying liabilities and eventual distribution to the beneficiaries under the terms of the Will)

The executors or administrators are required to complete appropriate tax returns, swear an oath confirming the information they have provided and affirmation of their commitment to deal with the estate in a proper and timely manner.

The Will names several Executors, who does what?

Evans Harvey Wills & Probate Solicitors Plymouth

Up to four executors can jointly apply for the grant of probate. Executors who do not wish to act can renounce their executorship or reserve powers. One option is for the executors to act jointly, agreeing their decisions. This can be a rather cumbersome way to deal with the estate, particularly if executors are busy or live in different areas.

More commonly, the executors will agree amongst themselves for two executors to take the lead. If one of the executors is a solicitor, then that solicitor will usually guide and assist the remaining executors through the administration process. Alternatively, the executors may decide to act together but appoint a solicitor to provide advice and deal with the paperwork on their behalf.

Why do people choose to use a solicitor to help with probate and estate administration?

Evans Harvey Wills & Probate Solicitors Plymouth

Acting as an executor can be a complex and time-consuming task. It can also be stressful if you are coping with the death of someone close to you, or you find yourself in the middle of family disputes.

  • Practical issues (such as your location or other commitments) make it difficult for you to take a hands-on role as an executor
  • You have reason to believe that the Will could be contested
  • There are questions over the validity of the Will
  • The estate is valuable and inheritance tax is likely to be payable
  • Underage children or family trusts are involved
  • The estate is complicated — for example, with business or overseas assets
  • Tax returns before a grant of probate or letters of administration is obtained are mandatory and can be complicated depending upon the size of the estate.
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Evans Harvey Solicitors Plymouth

If you have any questions for our legal teams then please do not hesitate to contact us. 01752 785 715

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