Personal Legal Services

FAMILY LAW

When family problems arise, it is an emotional time for all concerned. Whether you are dealing with issues relating to children, the elderly or your own relationship, you need to speak to lawyers who understand the unique circumstances of each situation.

It is an unfortunate reality that, increasingly, families find themselves in need of professional advice on issues such as separation, divorce and adoption.

We are fully aware that before you can take on any advice relating to these personal situations, you need to feel at ease.

Our approach is to work through the problems as sensitively as possibly, to get a full understanding of not only the most immediate issues, but also those which might arise later.

LIVING WILLS

Often the best place to start getting to know our clients is in the planning of their Wills. A Will is the best way to ensure that all your assets, personal and business, will be dealt with correctly after your death and in accordance with your wishes.

All too frequently, someone dies without making a Will, which causes additional upset and anxiety to the family at a very difficult time. A Will is an inexpensive way of providing for your dependents. With no Will, the whole process takes a lot longer, as the Court has to appoint your Executor, and statutory Law decides how the assets will be divided.

We can examine the assets you have, for example, your property and savings, then assist you in setting out details to provide for your family and loved ones in the event of your death, as you wish.

WINDING UP ESTATES

Dealing with the loss of a family member or a friend is always difficult. If you are an Executor there will be a number of important matters for you to deal with after the death. Many people are however unaware of what is expected of Executors when winding up estates.

It is important then, that you should seek advice from lawyers who are not only experienced in executry procedures and who will assist in ensuring the affairs of the deceased are properly organised, but whom you can trust to shoulder as much of the burden as possible.

Here at McLean & Stewart we advise many clients on all matters relating to the winding up of the estate from registering the death through to investing legacies.

We are also able to assist families where a person has died leaving no valid or complete Will. We arrange through the relevant Court for the appointment of a family member as Executor and then handle the estate on their behalf.

We are experienced in administering executry estates. We shall:

  1. Investigate and detail the estate as at date of death
  2. Arrange for payment of any Inheritance Tax
  3. Obtain Confirmation (in England, known as Probate)
  4. Gather in the estate, settle the debts, and then distribute it either according to the Will, or, if no Will, the laws of Intestancy.

A full and detailed account is then prepared showing all the financial aspects and financial approval obtained from the Executors.

Aware of the delicate nature of such situations, our experienced and caring partners and staff will provide support and reassurance to families in dealing with these matters following on bereavement.

MAKING A WILL

Making a will is one of the most important things we can do – after all it determines how our most personal possessions and hard-earned savings will be shared among close family and friends.

It is often a simple and inexpensive process. But failure to make a will can pose major difficulties for those left behind, for instance, by paying more tax than necessary. Your estate – money, other assets and possessions – could be distributed according to the law rather than your wishes. It is particularly important to leave instructions if you own property or have children.

For more information on making a will, please do contact us to discuss further or consider the following guide for consumers:-

Wills & Executries – Making a Will and dealing with executries: a guide for legal consumers (available to download at www.scottishlegalcomplaints.org.uk)

POWER OF ATTORNEY

For many people, Powers of Attorney are seen as being necessary for older people who have diminished mental ability through illness or just becoming elderly. Very few people see the need for this when they are younger but unfortunately accidents can happen and being prepared for the unexpected can save a family unnecessary upset.

By having a Power of Attorney it is reassuring to the person that no matter what their age, their affairs will be handled by someone they trust should they be unable to do so personally.

For whatever reason for those running their own business, it is possible to have two Powers of Attorney. One to deal with personal financial matters and one, with a different Attorney, for the business.

GUARDIANSHIPS

The need for a Guardianship arises when an adult has become incapable, usually through mental or physical illness, but has previously made no arrangement for their care following such incapacity, such as signing a Power of Attorney.

A Guardian looks after an individual’s finances or his or her personal welfare. Without this arrangement in place, the affairs of the incapable adult cannot legally be dealt with by anyone, even by friends or family members. This can easily lead to potential problems, particularly with financial matters such as investments and pensions.

It is understandable that having to apply to a Court for a Guardianship will be hard on loved ones. However, here at McLean & Stewart we will make a difficult experience altogether more manageable for the family.