Tag Archive for: Wills

We’ve expanded our Wills, Trusts & Estates team

We’re delighted to welcome Georgina Roberts to our growing Wills, Trusts & Estates team.

Georgina, who grew up on the Wirral, joined us in September and specialises in all aspects of private client work.

She said: “Private Client is an interesting area of the law and I really enjoy helping people at what can sometimes be a difficult and stressful time of their lives.”

Georgina is also a full member of Solicitors for the Elderly, which means she is trained to work with older and more vulnerable clients.

You can find out more here about our Wills, Trusts & Estates work which includes the creation of wills, trusts and inheritance tax planning, Powers of Attorney, administration of estates and Court of Protection work.

Louise Holmes​, Cullimore Dutton Wills, Trusts & Estates

Estate Planning for Blended Families

Estate Planning for Blended Families: Navigating Wills and Inheritance

Blended families have become increasingly common in today’s society. As relationships evolve and individuals remarry or enter into new partnerships, estate planning becomes a crucial consideration to ensure the fair and smooth transfer of assets to loved ones.

In the context of blended families, where there may be children from previous relationships, navigating wills and inheritance requires careful thought and legal expertise. This article aims to provide valuable insights and guidance for UK residents in such situations.

Understanding the unique challenges
Blended families face unique challenges when it comes to estate planning due to the complex dynamics involved. Considerations such as protecting the interests of biological children from previous relationships, providing for a new spouse or partner, and addressing potential conflicts among family members require thoughtful planning.

Updating your will
One of the most critical steps in estate planning for blended families is updating your will. A well-drafted will ensures that your wishes regarding asset distribution are clearly outlined. Failing to update your will after entering a new relationship may lead to unintended consequences, with assets potentially passing to the wrong beneficiaries or even causing legal disputes.

When updating your will, it is essential to consider the following points:

Spousal/civil partner inheritance rights
In the UK, a spouse or civil partner has certain automatic inheritance rights, regardless of what is stated in a will. It is important to understand these rights and ensure that your wishes align with them. Consulting with a knowledgeable solicitor will help you understand and navigate these legal requirements effectively.

Provision for biological children
If you have children from a previous relationship, you may wish to ensure that they are adequately provided for in your estate plan. This can be achieved through specific provisions in your will, such as leaving assets or establishing trusts to benefit your children.

Providing for a new spouse or partner
Many individuals want to provide for their new spouse or partner while also ensuring that their children receive their fair share. Various strategies, such as life interest trusts or discretionary trusts, can be implemented to strike a balance between these competing interests. Seeking legal advice will help you determine the most suitable approach based on your specific circumstances.

Guardianship of minor children
If you have minor children, it is vital to address guardianship arrangements in your will. Clearly, designating who will assume guardianship responsibilities ensures that your children will be cared for according to your wishes.

Communication and managing expectations
Open and honest communication is essential when navigating estate planning matters within blended families. Discussing your wishes and intentions with all relevant parties can help manage expectations and minimise potential conflicts. Consider involving family members, especially those directly affected by your estate plan, in the discussion process. While conversations about inheritance can sometimes be uncomfortable, addressing these matters proactively can help avoid misunderstandings and resentment later on.

Seek professional guidance
Given the complexities involved in estate planning for blended families, it is strongly recommended to seek professional guidance from a reputable law firm specialising in estate planning and family law. An experienced solicitor can provide tailored advice, help you understand the legal implications, and ensure that your estate plan is comprehensive and legally sound.

Regular review of your estate plan
Lastly, it is crucial to periodically review and update your estate plan and will to reflect any changes in your family dynamics, financial situation, or legislation. Life events such as births, deaths, divorces, or significant financial changes may necessitate adjustments to your Will or other estate planning documents. By conducting regular reviews, you can ensure that your estate plan remains up-to-date and aligned with your current wishes.

Navigating your will
Estate planning for blended families requires careful consideration and professional expertise. Updating your will, effectively communicating with your loved ones, and seeking the guidance of an experienced solicitor will help you navigate the complexities and ensure that your wishes are met. By undertaking these essential steps, you can achieve peace of mind, knowing that your estate will be distributed according to your intentions, ultimately providing for both your new family and your children from previous relationships.

How we can help
Our expertise and assistance can provide you with confidence when Estate Planning for Blended Families and ensure that your wishes are accurately reflected. Our team are all specialists in this area of law so we can ensure the best possible outcome for you and your family.

If you would like a free initial consultation with a member of the Wills & Probate team simply click on the “Speak to Our Experts” button on this page, call us on 01244 729 073 or email info@cullimoredutton.co.uk

Please note: This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

Sarah Gill

From dental nurse to Senior Paralegal

Senior Paralegal Sarah Gill joined our busy Wills & Probate Team in 2017. Here she talks about her former career as a dental nurse and what inspired her to retrain in the law.


How did you get into the law?

I grew up on the Wirral and when l left school I did a secretarial course at my local college, then started my first job as a receptionist for a firm of solicitors.

After being promoted to secretary, an opportunity came up to work in the NHS and train as a dental nurse – my original ambition. I worked for the Community Dental Service on the Wirral for four years and absolutely loved it.

My husband’s job took us both to Yorkshire for a number of years. I couldn’t find a job as a community dental nurse so went back to work for a firm of solicitors.

When we returned to the North West in my early thirties, I was offered a job as a paralegal and spent two years studying remotely for a Specialist Paralegal Qualification in Wills, Probate and Administration through the University of Strathclyde.

It’s a very rare qualification to have in England and there are not many of us. But it’s excellent because it provides you with the knowledge and understanding of the procedures involved in the preparation of wills and the administration of estates.

It also provides formal learning and a recognised qualification to bolster my many years of experience in wills and probate.

What do you love about your work?

It’s just brilliant. As a Senior Paralegal I’ve got my own case load of about seventy files at any one time. These can range from straightforward wills and grant applications to making a lasting power of attorney. I am also able to assist charities on occasion, such as Cancer Research UK via their free will service.

Like many of us on the team, I’ve had Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friends training which teaches you about the signs and symptoms of dementia and the small ways you can help people through a better understanding of the condition.

The training is really helpful when you’re giving advice on wills and considering a person’s capacity to sign.

It may sound cheesy but I want everyone to have what they have the right to. I also like helping people. I get calls from people every day who have lost a parent or sibling and it’s good knowing I can help them at a time when they are most distressed and grieving.

Most people see probate as a bit of a minefield, but I carefully guide them through it step by step. You are the one on their side and who is thinking straight for them at a time of need. It makes it all worthwhile when someone drops you a little note afterwards to thank you for making a difference.


Would you recommend a career in the law?

Yes, definitely. My career journey shows that you don’t have to get into the law via a traditional path such as taking a law degree. I’d love to see more people coming in to the legal profession as paralegals.

Many will want to work their way up to become a solicitor but there are exciting career opportunities to grow and stay as a paralegal.

I was 41 when I qualified, and I believe my life experience brings a lot to the role. It’s also good fun to now be mentoring some of my younger colleagues who have joined Cullimore Dutton in their first jobs.

Life outside work?

The supermarkets recently announced a shortage of fruit and vegetables in the UK so I’m pleased I’ve been growing my own for years. In my small garden I grow all sorts from potatoes, onions and garlic to herbs, rhubarb, tomatoes and lettuce.

I’ve got strawberry plants and golden raspberries ready to go this summer too.

There’s nothing quite like growing your own produce, picking it and eating it minutes later. Any surplus I don’t need I exchange with my local fruit and veg swap shop.

Baking is an absolute passion and I’m known at work for my gooey centred cupcakes which I often make for work fundraising events. I love watching Bake Off but I’d never want to go on it – far too stressful!

Like quite a few of my colleagues, I’m into running too. I’m a run director for Parkrun, helping over 100 runners walk, jog or run 5km every Saturday morning, and involved with the Whitchurch Whippets, a friendly road running club for adults of all abilities.

I was initially terrified of joining a running club – I thought everyone was going to be Paula Radcliffe standard – but a pal persuaded me to give it a go. We have everything from an injury group for runners who want to walk while they recover to people new to running who can only do a minute and want to build up to 5km.

Staying fit, being social and having fun are just three great benefits from doing it.


Louise Holmes​, Cullimore Dutton Wills, Trusts & Estates

Free will review for all clients

Have your personal or business circumstances changed recently? Our Wills & Probate Team are offering all clients a free will review.
With the many tax changes that have taken place in recent years, now is a good time to make or review your will.
Louise Holmes, Associate Director, said: “Regularly reviewing your will is one of the most important things you can do. It does not take long and it allows you to ensure that your loved ones are provided for, that your estate is as tax efficient as possible and that your wishes are respected upon death.
“A good time to review your will is after setting up a new company, after the purchase or sale of a property, the birth of a child or if your personal circumstances have changed.”
If you would like to arrange an appointment with one of our specialist team, please email wills@cullimoredutton.co.uk or call 01244 729072.

Helping families plan for the future

We are helping families to plan for the future by investing in the number of solicitors on our team who are STEP qualified.

STEP members are specialists in inheritance and succession planning and can draft wills and trusts, administer estates, act as trustees and advise families on how best to structure their finances to ensure compliance and preserve their assets for future generations.

We are delighted that Alexandra Chambers, a solicitor in our Wills & Trusts team, has recently qualified as a STEP practitioner.

Alexandra, who joined Cullimore Dutton in May last year, said: “The STEP diploma is highly regarded by both the profession and clients alike. My STEP qualification has enhanced my technical knowledge of Trusts and Estates and allows me to give my clients the best possible service.

“I was thrilled to be invited to the STEP annual dinner by the STEP committee as a high achiever guest for the marks achieved on my diploma.  All my hard work had paid off and I had a wonderful evening celebrating.

“I’m now looking forward to using my expertise to help provide the best possible advice to my clients.”

Alexandra is one of four fully qualified Trust & Estate practitioners at the firm.

Louise Holmes​, Cullimore Dutton Wills, Trusts & Estates

How one of Chester’s few ‘Solicitors for the Elderly’ helps clients to plan ahead

Associate Director Louise Holmes specialises in drafting wills, tax planning, trusts and inheritance tax planning and drawing up Powers of Attorney. She joined the Cullimore Dutton team in June and is passionate about changing the lives of our clients. Here she talks about her work with clients approaching retirement, her home visits and her love of Chester.

What inspired you to become a solicitor?

I picked a career in the law because I wanted to really help people and to make a difference to their lives. For example, one of my specialisms is drawing up Powers of Attorney for people.

This is a legal document that allows someone to make decisions for you or act on your behalf if you are no longer able to do so. It is important for anyone who has money or assets they want to protect – or who wants someone to act in their best interest when it comes to healthcare choices – in a scenario when they can’t personally make the decision.

Most people I help are making them when they hit retirement age and want to get their affairs in order. Having a Power of Attorney in place is like a kindness to a family because it can potentially save a lot of stress.


How did you get started in your legal career?

I began by volunteering at the Citizens Advice Bureau in Chester whilst I was completing my Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and really enjoyed it. Before that, I studied Business at Coventry University. Today, working in a busy Wills department really makes me think I have achieved my goal to help people.


Working with the elderly

I am a fully accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly (there are only a few of us in Cheshire), which means I specialise in dealing with older and vulnerable clients on a regular basis. Being able to explain legal information and options in a clear and sensitive way is particularly important. If clients can’t come into the office, or feel nervous about doing so, I often pop out to see them in their home. I feel very privileged to be invited into someone’s home and to be trusted to help them resolve a legal issue. Sometimes I can be the only person they have spoken to all week and I love chatting to them and hearing about their family history.


What do you love about Chester and working at Cullimore Dutton?

I grew up in Chester and love working in such a beautiful city that is proud of its history.

The people and the excellent reputation of Cullimore Dutton are what makes it such a special place to work. I also like working for an MD who isn’t a solicitor, but has a business background, which fits with my business degree!


Life outside work?

My weekends are a whirlwind of activity running three young children and walking the family’s 8-year-old pet Cavapoo. I am also treasurer of our primary school’s PTA and help to run the Tarvin toddler group every Friday.