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Greene & Greene is a long established firm of solicitors based in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Our lawyers advise individuals and businesses based all over the UK.

We regularly attract new clients who have been using firms in London, but now receive a more cost efficient and more personal service from us here in Bury St Edmunds.

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Wealth Management from beyond the grave

The vast majority of us, whilst not wishing to contemplate our mortality, do want to retain some control over our wealth once we have gone but it is very easy not to grasp the nettle, more so these days with the complexities of second marriages, stepchildren, partners and their children.

I am afraid it is because of these very complexities that there is all the more reason to take control now and manage your affairs as they will be after your death.

I am, and have been for over 10 years, a member of ACTAPS, the Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists – a bit of a mouthful (www.actaps.com). I often get called in by a family member that is at war with another part of the family over an estate. I also deal with complex divorces and whilst these can be acrimonious and expensive, they can be nothing compared with the bitterness and costs of disputed estates.

So, an integral part of your wealth planning must be to ensure it does not end up either with the one member of the family you didn’t want to benefit, lawyers or the tax man!

You may think you can save legal fees by either doing nothing or making your own Will. It may be that the Rules of Intestacy, i.e. what happens in the event of you not making a Will does achieve exactly what you want, but it is unlikely. Alternatively you can even get a Will pack from your local stationers. However there are many traps for the unwary, more so these days than ever before. People are increasingly aware of these traps and successfully exploit them.

In the “good old days” it used to be the case you could do as you please and be as unfair as you liked in your Will. Things have changed and the law now protects certain individuals and over the years the Court’s interpretation as to who should be protected has widened, therefore it is important to understand this and strike the right balance.

An estate dispute could cost over £100,000 and those costs may come out of your estate – your hard earned wealth. It pays to make sure that your wealth is not exposed to attack after you have gone; so be pro-active now.

Kate Chandler will be speaking at a free seminar covering this topic and more, hosted by Greene & Greene on Thursday 20 October 2011. For further information about this free event, please contact Hannah Ruffles on 01284 717431 or hannahruffles@greene-greene.com.

Online booking is also available at: http:// mentalcapacityandwills2011.eventbrite.com

For further advice, please contact Kate Chandler on 01284 717513 or email k.chandler@greene-greene.com.

Article published: Suffolk magazine, October 2011

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