Our focus is you

Delivering the best legal advice for you and your family is about understanding your needs. We deliver a partner-led service and work to find practical solutions that meet your needs – from estate planning and wealth management to probate and inheritance matters our experienced solicitors navigate the complexities of the legal landscape with diligence and attention to detail.

Our services

Probate and Estate Administration

The complexity of estate administration and gaining probate varies according to the nature and type of the assets involved and the terms of the will. We are used to dealing with a range of estates and so can provide the help you need, doing as much or as little as you require.

If you have been appointed as the executor of a will you will need to finalise the financial affairs of the deceased and distribute what is left according to the instructions in the will. Our expert team can help with applying for probate, valuing the estate, collecting the assets, paying the tax, filling out inheritance tax returns, selling any property, managing any trusts and distributing the funds.

Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts

Estate Planning

Careful tax and financial planning is an essential part of any effective wealth management and estate planning strategy. By taking the right steps to manage your assets you can make sure that the right people benefit. We can help structure your financial affairs and assets in the most efficient way possible – including property, land, investments, business and overseas interests.

We can help to make your assets work for you and protect them for your beneficiaries with tax planning measures that can be put in place during your lifetime, and through your will.

Wills

Effective planning starts with identifying your assets, being clear about how you would like these divided, taking full account of every scenario and then writing a will that fully reflects your wishes. We can help you write a will that ensures that those you choose get the full benefit of their inheritance, as well as minimising the chance of any disputes after your death. Our expert team can help you structure your estate in the best way possible to protect your wealth and provide for your dependants in the future.

Trusts

As part of the wealth management process, it may be appropriate to set up a trust, for instance, to ensure that a particular child or relative is provided for. A trust is a legal arrangement established so that named persons – ‘trustees’ – can look after and deal with assets for the benefit of named beneficiaries. We can help you set up a trust to ensure that your assets are protected and your family looked after should anything happen to you.

Our trust advisory services include how best to make use of any existing family trusts, establishing new ones, managing trusts and winding up when appropriate. We work with clients over the long-term and encourage regular reviews, particularly if there are any changes in personal or financial circumstances – such as marriage, divorce, children or the sale of a family business.

Trust Administration

Where you have a family trust of any kind, we offer an efficient cost effective trust administration service to help you with trust accounts and annual tax returns. We can advise on all aspects of trust administration and if you choose we can take the burden of this away from you or support you to make effective decisions.

Lasting Power of Attorney

None of us likes to think of a time when we will be unable to make our own decisions regarding our own medical treatment or finances. However, this is a growing issue and increasing use is being made of lasting powers of attorney. There are two different powers of attorney, one that allows for financial decisions to be made and the other for health and care decisions to be made on your behalf. We can advise on the benefits and options available. We can provide invaluable advice in terms of who to appoint as your attorneys, how to appoint them and what conditions or guidance to include. Such powers of attorney can also be important in the context of family or owner managed businesses, where severe disruption can be caused if key decision-makers are suddenly incapacitated.

Family Business Succession Planning

There is an inevitable overlap between personal and business matters when there is a family business to consider and this can bring the potential for conflict. With significant expertise in both personal and corporate legal issues, we are ideally placed to advise on succession planning and how to protect the future of the family business.

Elderly and Vulnerable Clients

Our solicitors never underestimate the privilege and responsibility that comes with advising our older and more vulnerable clients. We have developed a highly regarded legal practice focused on the needs of our elderly and vulnerable clients. We provide bespoke support and guidance for individuals, their attorneys and deputies, families and carers.

Alternatively, you or your family might need urgent legal advice because of sudden illness or injury. In either situation we’ll adapt to your differing needs and priorities in a flexible and pragmatic way.

Court of Protection and the role of a Deputy

Where no Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is in place and someone loses their capacity to manage their own affairs (financial or otherwise) the Court of Protection can appoint a Deputy. The application process is detailed and involves sensitive decisions; our team can assist and will listen to any particular issues for each client and their situation.

As well as assisting others to apply on behalf of their own family members, we have experience of acting as a Deputy. We currently act as the Deputy managing the financial affairs for clients with vulnerabilities whether through mental health, brain injury from an accident or clinical negligence or old age. We ensure there is full compliance with the Court of Protection’s strict safeguards and reporting requirements. Our team also has experience of making specific applications to the Court of Protection where required, for example, where a property needs to be sold or there is a concern about a current Attorney or deputy.

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Emma Weir
Sarah Kench

Recent work

Advice on mitigation of inheritance tax

We provided technical advice to clients with several million in assets and a substantial annual income. We advised on ways to substantially mitigate a potential inheritance tax liability of close to £1million. Steps we advised our clients to take included giving substantial gifts to family members on a regular basis to avoid the accumulation of surplus income in their estates and to insert specific provisions in each will to reduce exposure to inheritance tax.

Estate administration

Historically the deceased, used big name City law firms for some of his personal work. However, he chose to instruct DMH Stallard to draft his will and the executor has chosen to use us to administer the multimillion-pound estate because of our local knowledge. The breadth and depth of experience means we can deal sensitively with many of the internationally high-profile people who benefit under the will, or who are involved in the deceased’s estate.

Acting as Deputy for an individual with dementia

DMH Stallard were asked to manage the affairs of someone with dementia who had lost their mental capacity, were unable to manage their affairs and continue to live independently. DMH Stallard Trust Corporation applied to the Court of Protection to be appointed as their Deputies. There was no extended family or close friends. We found a suitable residential care home for them that specialised in dementia care and sold their property, taking financial advice to ensure there were sufficient funds to cover their care home fees and general living expenses.

Wills and Estate Planning advice

We provided estate planning advice to a married couple aimed at maximising allowances available to their estates. Specifically in this case we arranged for the wife to gift her residence nil rate band (RNRB) to the children in an attempt to bank relief because she had assets of a lower value than her husband. We maximised asset protection by incorporating a flexible life interest trust (FLIT).

Administration of a high net worth estate.

Historically the deceased, used big name City law firms for some of his personal work. However, he chose to instruct DMH Stallard to draft his will and the executor has chosen to use us to administer the multimillion-pound estate because of our local knowledge. The breadth and depth of experience means we can deal sensitively with many of the internationally high-profile people who benefit under the will, or who are involved in the deceased’s estate.

Advice on post-death variations of will and tax relief

DMH Stallard advised the executors of an estate where the deceased had assets held within a company registered at Lloyds. DMH Stallard successfully claimed Business Relief over various assets within the estate. We also advised the executors on a deed of variation which was successful in securing a reduction in the inheritance tax payable,

Lasting Power of Attorney

We often prepare Lasting Powers of Attorney as part of our overarching private client service, encompassing advice on wills, trusts, inheritance tax planning and succession planning. It’s an area of our practice that demonstrates the way we link various specialisms across the firm to enhance the service we deliver to clients.

Power of Attorney Advice

We provided advice and support to a lady in her 90s with frailty and early stage dementia. The PoA ensured that when her dementia progressed to the stage she could no longer make decisions for herself that one of her daughters would make all decisions in relation to her financial affairs and health and welfare. This was an important document that provided peace of mind and enabled the family to chose the care she received.

Advice on mitigation of inheritance tax

We provided technical advice to clients who were in their eighties with several million in assets and a substantial annual income. We advised on ways to substantially mitigate a potential inheritance tax liability of close to £1million. Steps we advised our clients to take included giving substantial gifts to family members on a regular basis to avoid the accumulation of surplus income in their estates and to insert specific provisions in each will to reduce exposure to inheritance tax.

Intervening to prevent client being pressurised into making investments

One of our long-standing clients contacted us as he was concerned that he was being pressurised to invest in a bond and to place his property in trust. We were able to assist the client in making his own decisions, explaining to him his own financial situation to allow him to plan for his future. We prepared a Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney where the client appointed the DMH Stallard Trust Corporation as his attorney, enabling us to assist and support him to make and execute decisions whilst he retained mental capacity. Furthermore, the LPA allowed the firm to protect our client’s best interests following the loss of mental capacity.

News and insights

Penalties for breaching environmental legislation

Insights

An overview of the environmental regulator’s approach to the enforcement and prosecution of environmental offences which outlines the potential penalties and other implications for a businesses who breaches environmental legislation

25/02/2015

Enforcing possession orders – how not to do it

Insights

We explain how not to enforce possession orders, as shown in London Borough of Southwark -v- AA [2014] EWHC 500 (QB)

29/09/2015