Contact Us

Wills and Trusts Solicitors

Wills and Trusts Solicitors

Compassionate & straightforward

Understanding the importance of estate planning and the complexities involved in wills, trusts, and probate can be challenging.

At Walker Foster, our dedicated team of wills and trusts solicitors provide expert legal advice and compassionate service to individuals and families to make these processes as clear and straightforward as possible.

Our solicitors specialising in wills and trusts offer comprehensive services to help you manage your wealth, protect your assets, and ensure your wishes are respected. From drafting wills that reflect your desires to handling complex estates and providing practical advice on Inheritance Tax, our team is equipped to advise your personal representatives and support your estate planning needs.

At Walker Foster, we understand the importance of detailed planning across all matters relating to wills, trusts, probate and more, whether this involves business succession planning, capital gains tax implications, or setting up trusts that serve your family’s best interests. Let our expert team of wills, trusts and probate solicitors guide you through the legal process with clarity and expertise.

Discover how our specialist advice can help secure your legacy and provide for your loved ones by getting in contact with the wills and trusts solicitors at Walker Foster today.

Our wills, trusts and probate solicitor services

A comprehensive range of services

At Walker Foster, our wills and trusts solicitors provide a comprehensive range of services designed to meet all your estate planning needs. Here’s how we can assist you:

Our dedicated team of solicitors specialising in wills, trusts and probate is committed to providing expert advice, practical solutions and compassionate support. Whether you are planning for the future, managing a loved one's affairs, or navigating the probate process, Walker Foster is here to help every step of the way.

Why do I need a will?

Creating a will is a fundamental aspect of estate planning and financial planning, allowing you to express your final wishes clearly and legally. Having a will in place provides certainty for both you and your loved ones and ensures that your decisions regarding your family assets are respected and implemented after your death. Here is why making a will is essential:

  • Guardianship of children: a will allows you to appoint guardians for your children under the age of 18, ensuring they are cared for by trusted individuals of your choice if you pass away before they reach adulthood.
  • Funeral wishes: you can outline your preferences for your funeral arrangements within your will, providing guidance to your family during a difficult time and ensuring your final wishes are respected.
  • Charitable donations: if you have charities that are close to your heart, a will enables you to leave a part of your estate or specific monetary gifts to these organisations, contributing to their causes even after your death.
  • Legacies and specific gifts: through your will, you can leave specific assets, sums of money, or personal items to family members, friends or others, ensuring that particular belongings go to the intended recipients.
  • Distribution of your estate: a will clarifies how you want your remaining estate - everything you own after debts, taxes, and specific legacies have been addressed - to be distributed. Without a will, your assets may be divided according to standard legal formulas, which might not align with your personal wishes.
  • Inheritance Tax mitigation: in some circumstances, a well-written will can reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax payable.

By making a will, you take control of these essential decisions, alleviating potential disputes among family members and ensuring that your finances, possessions and family business assets are handled according to your preferences. Our wills solicitors will provide expert legal advice and support to guide you through the will-making process to ensure your wishes are clearly expressed. They will also advise you of any potential claims that could be made against your estate and advise how best to reduce the risk of any claim succeeding.

How often do I need to review my will?

Regularly reviewing your will ensures that it accurately reflects your current wishes and circumstances, and the circumstances of your executors and beneficiaries. Life changes, and so might your intentions for your estate and your beneficiaries.

Here are some of the most common circumstances in which you should consider reviewing your will:

  • Changes in personal circumstances: significant life events such as marriage, divorce, the birth of children or grandchildren, or the death of a beneficiary can dramatically affect your estate planning needs and desires. Following such events, it is important to review your will to ensure it aligns with your new circumstances.
  • Financial changes: significant changes to your financial situation, such as acquiring new assets, selling property, changes in business interests, or receiving an inheritance, can impact how you wish to distribute your estate. Regular reviews can help ensure your will reflects your current financial landscape.
  • Disposed or gifted assets: if you have specifically donated items in your will that you no longer own or have given away, your will may need updating to reflect these changes and prevent any ambiguity or disputes among your heirs.
  • Legal and tax changes: updates in laws, especially those relating to Inheritance Tax, capital gains tax or estate administration, could affect your will’s effectiveness and your estate’s tax liability. Regular reviews with a wills solicitor can help you navigate these changes and adapt your estate planning accordingly.

Our wills, trusts and probate solicitors can provide expert advice on when and how to review and update your will. We understand the importance of having an up-to-date will that accurately reflects your wishes and circumstances, ensuring your legacy and your family’s future are protected as intended.

What is an executor?

An executor is an individual appointed in your will who is responsible for carrying out your wishes and administering your estate after your death. Executors ensure that your assets are distributed according to your will, debts and taxes are paid, and all legal and financial responsibilities are met during the estate administration process.

Executors have numerous duties, including:

  • Obtaining the death certificate and the original will.
  • Applying for probate if necessary.
  • Gathering and valuing all assets of the estate.
  • Paying off any debts and taxes due from the estate.
  • Distributing the remaining estate to the beneficiaries as specified in the will.
  • Dealing with any legal issues that may arise during the administration of the estate.

Our wills and trusts solicitors can provide expert advice on choosing the right executor for your estate, and can also serve as professional executors if required. We offer guidance and support to executors unfamiliar with the legal process, helping to alleviate the burden during what can be a challenging time.

What is probate? Will my family need to obtain this on my death?

Probate is a term often used to describe the legal and financial processes involved in dealing with the property, money and assets of a person who has died. At its core, it involves validating the deceased’s will (if one exists) and administering their estate according to their wishes or the law.

Probate is generally required if the deceased owned assets worth more than £5,000, not counting any debts and funeral expenses, or if they owned assets that were held solely in their name. Additionally, some financial institutions may require probate before releasing the deceased's funds, even if the value is less than £5,000. However, if the deceased’s assets were jointly owned, they may pass directly to the surviving owner without the need for probate.

Obtaining probate typically involves the following steps:

  • Determining the value of the deceased's assets, debts, and liabilities.
  • Completing and submitting the necessary forms to the Probate Registry, along with the original will (if one exists) and the death certificate.
  • Paying any Inheritance Tax due to HM Revenue & Customs.
  • Collecting the deceased's assets, paying off any debts, and distributing the remainder of the estate to the beneficiaries as per the will or rules of intestacy.

The probate process can be complex and time-consuming, especially during bereavement. At Walker Foster, our solicitors provide expert guidance and support to families navigating any and all probate matters. Whether you require assistance with obtaining a grant of probate, administering an estate, or understanding your duties as an executor or administrator, our probate team is here to help.

What is Inheritance Tax (IHT)?

Inheritance Tax (IHT) is a tax payable on death. The standard IHT rate is 40%, but this rate only applies to the portion of your estate that exceeds your nil-rate band. There are various factors that will affect the value of your nil-rate band, but as a rule, this will be set at £325,000 per person.

If your taxable estate's total value is below this threshold, no IHT is due. Moreover, any portion of your estate that you leave to your spouse, civil partner, a charity, or a community amateur sports club is exempt from IHT, potentially reducing the taxable value of your estate.

The threshold can increase to £500,000 under the residence nil rate band (RNRB) if you pass your home to your children or grandchildren. This additional allowance is aimed at making it easier to pass on the family home without incurring IHT charges.

IHT must typically be paid within six months of the person’s death. If the tax is not paid within this period, interest may accrue on the amount owed. It is possible to pay the tax in instalments if the tax is mainly attributable to property, such as a home or business premises, which might take longer to sell.

If you have questions about whether you owe IHT, or are looking for ways to reduce the amount of IHT your estate may have to pay, get in touch with Walker Foster.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney? Who should have one?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint one or more trusted individuals, known as 'attorneys', to make decisions on your behalf should you lose the mental capacity to do so yourself. It is an essential tool for anyone who wants to ensure their health, welfare and financial affairs can be effectively managed according to their wishes, even if they are no longer able to communicate or make decisions.

There are two main LPA types:

  • Health and welfare LPAs, which cover decisions about your day-to-day care, medical treatment, living arrangements, and life-sustaining measures, when you are unable to do so yourself.
  • Property and financial affairs LPAs, which allow your appointed attorney to handle your financial affairs, such as managing bank accounts, selling property, handling investments, and dealing with pensions and benefits. Unlike the health and welfare LPA, this can be used as soon as it is registered, with your consent.

When setting up an LPA, you can specify conditions and restrictions to tailor the powers granted to your attorneys, ensuring they act within your preferred boundaries.

Having an LPA in place is a form of future-proofing your wellbeing and financial security. Our dedicated team of solicitors specialising in LPAs can provide expert advice and assistance in getting these set up.

Our approach to wills, trusts and probate services

Clear and comprehensive advice

At Walker Foster, our approach to wills, trusts and probate services is grounded in understanding, respect and dedication to meeting your individual needs. We recognise the importance of clear, considered and compassionate legal advice in these deeply personal areas.

Our team takes the time to understand your specific situation and tailors our advice to suit your individual needs and objectives. We provide expert legal advice to help you understand the complexities of estate planning, ensuring your assets are protected and your wishes are honoured.

Whether administering an estate, setting up a trust, or drafting a will, we work efficiently and meticulously to ensure every detail is correct and every possibility is considered. We often work alongside accountants, financial planners and tax advisers to ensure that your estate planning is integrated with your broader financial and wealth management strategies.

Whether you are drafting a new will, setting up a trust, or navigating the probate process, our experienced wills, trusts and probate solicitors aim to provide a service that ensures your estate is managed exactly as you wish.

Contact us

Friendly, knowledgeable and professional team

Why choose Walker Foster?

Standing out while fitting in

We strive for excellence

We care about our clients

We empower our people to make a difference together

Choosing the right legal partner is essential when planning for the future of your estate. Walker Foster stands out with our deep-seated commitment to personal and empathetic legal services, making us the premier choice for your wills, trusts and probate needs.

With a heritage that stretches back to 1919, our firm has long been intertwined with the fabric of the local communities we serve. Operating from offices in Skipton, Barnoldswick, Silsden, Settle, Ilkley, Northallerton and Harrogate, we bring a nuanced understanding of both the local and broader legal landscapes to every case.

Our team of wills, trusts and probate solicitors are fully regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and combines comprehensive legal expertise with a compassionate, client-focused approach. We go beyond the standard offerings of traditional law firms, building enduring relationships to provide ongoing support through all of life's transitions.

At Walker Foster, we are dedicated to guiding you through the complexities of estate planning with clarity and care, always operating with our clients' interests as our first priority. Our mission is to ensure your peace of mind, knowing that your legacy and your loved ones are protected for future generations for years to come.

Further reading

If you would like to find out more about processes and laws surrounding probate, wills and trusts, take a look at Walker Foster's downloadable guide on what needs to happen after the death of a loved one.

The following links may also be useful:

Meet the Team

Catherine AckroydSolicitor
Kelly GillSenior Fellow Chartered Legal Executive
Rachel HansonSenior Wills and Probate Executive
Katie HindmarshSenior Associate Solicitor
Katie InghamHead of Private Client and Senior Associate Solicitor
Lee KirbySenior Associate Solicitor
Sarah RichardsonWills and Probate Executive
Alex RichardsonPrivate Client Trainee Solicitor
Stuart RowlandDirector and Senior Associate Solicitor
Cay SchofieldWills and Probate Executive
Leona WalkerAssociate Solicitor

If you are ready to secure your future and protect your family’s legacy, reach out to Walker Foster today. Our dedicated team of specialist wills and trusts solicitors is here to offer you expert legal advice, personalised solutions, and compassionate support every step of the way.

Contact our legal experts today to discuss your estate planning needs and start building a secure future for you and your loved ones.

Our office locations

Get in touch