13 November 2015 by

The Value of Good Advice

In most situations, people will use a solicitor for their business transactions or for buying a house, but they may not always use a solicitor for their private arrangements. The statistics speak for themselves; over half of the adult population in the UK has not made a Will. This might be down to cost, or because a visit to a solicitor can seem daunting, or it might be because it’s difficult to quantify good legal advice, and so it’s hard to see the value of it.

There are some occasions when good advice can be measured financially. We have recently dealt with a case where, when discussing a Will and estate planning for a client, we uncovered errors in the administration a relative’s estate, several years earlier, when the family in question had not sought legal advice. Those errors resulted in an overpayment of Capital Gains Tax to the tune of £20,000.  Two thirds of that money has now been reclaimed from HM Revenue & Customs, with the rest due soon.

Aside from occasions where the value can be easily quantified, why else might it be a good idea to get legal advice? As solicitors, we are regulated and insured, both of which are important. However, the main benefit of getting legal advice is that most solicitors have a wide knowledge and experience of the law, and understand the complexities of it.

It can take a lot of time and effort to research a topic by yourself, or to find a suitably experienced person to assist with preparing a document or advising on a particular situation; and even then, how do you know that you have all the relevant information? This is where knowledge and experience come in. The value is not simply in being able to produce a legal document; we use our experience to raise issues that you might not have thought about, and possibly advise on a better way of reaching your goal. We might also spot opportunities to reduce your tax bill. Getting good advice may not always result in immediate financial benefit, but it can certainly help prevent future loss.

For example:

  • Having a Will can save a huge amount of time and money when it comes to administering your estate; more importantly, it makes a difficult job easier for your loved ones. Having a Will drawn up by a professional can reduce the risk of it being challenged after your death.
  • If you’re buying a house with someone, and contributing unequal amounts of money, it’s important to put a Deed of Trust in place to protect your share of the property.
  • Setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney can prevent an unnecessary court application (and a lot of wasted money) if you lose mental capacity.
  • Getting help from a solicitor when a loved one has passed away can ease the burden and helps you navigate the complex tax issues that can arise after death.

In all the above situations, there will come a time when it is too late to fix any problems, so the sooner you call a solicitor the better. By and large, everyone needs a Will, so that is a good place to start.

If you would like to discuss your circumstances and any documents you may need to put in place, or update, please contact Laura Wynn on 020 7288 4794 or at laurawynn@boltburdon.co.uk.

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