Wills and Estate Planning

Making a Will provides peace of mind for you and your family.  We offer simple Wills for clients who require straightforward estate planning and bespoke Wills for those with more complex needs. We ensure that your Will is correctly drafted and formalised to enable your assets to pass smoothly to loved ones, friends or charity in accordance with your wishes. We provide specialist succession and estate planning advice to ensure that your Will and any lifetime planning is effective, and the nuances of Jersey law are complied with.

If your proposed instructions conflict with Jersey inheritance law we will let you know and work to find solutions for you and your family.

You may require expert advice in addition to your Will such as pre-nuptial or post- nuptial agreements, lifetime gifting or establishing a trust.

Complicated situations require considered solutions

If you wish we can facilitate conversations with your family to explain your estate planning and mediate any issues that may arise. This reduces the risk of your Will being challenged on death and protects the persons you wish to benefit. It can be an invaluable service if you have a blended family or your estate planning is complex and does not comply with légitime and dower rules.

Overseas connections

Expert cross border succession advice is essential if you reside in Jersey but moved here from a different jurisdiction and/or own assets overseas. This is because the foreign law that may be applicable to you or your assets may be completely different from Jersey law.  The interaction of Jersey and international inheritance laws can unfortunately produce some unplanned outcomes, even where an individual has a formally valid Jersey Will in place. We are experts in advising clients who have an international connection and ensuring that their estate planning works as anticipated.

Marriage, civil partnership, divorce and Wills

We are specialist award winning family lawyers and offer expert estate planning advice if you are just about to tie the knot or looking to end a relationship.

If you are about to get married or have recently married or entered into a civil partnership you may want to ensure your new spouse or partner inherits from your estate. It may be prudent in some cases to formalise the division of your estate before getting married through a marriage contract or a pre-nuptial agreement to prevent issues arising on death. This is especially relevant where you have children from a previous relationship or it is anticipated that you will inherit family wealth which is a legacy for future generations.

It should be noted that Jersey law does not revoke your Will when you marry or enter into a civil partnership so it is especially important to keep your Will up-to-date. You should also review your Will if you have assets in other jurisdictions where, getting hitched, does revoke your Will. We can help guide you through this should it be relevant.

Conversely, if a relationship comes to an end you may be keen to change your Will as soon as possible. Even if your wishes have not changed any gift to a former spouse will fail, likewise his or her appointment as executor, unless specific provision has been included in your Will to prevent this.

Divorce settlements may require each spouse or civil partner to make provision in their Wills for any ongoing obligations agreed at the end of a relationship. Trusts can also be a useful vehicle to promote settlement especially where young children are involved and a degree of control over the funds set aside for the children is preferred. Should you choose we can work together with you and your family to develop an estate plan that avoids conflict and costly court disputes on your death and protects your legacy.

Common law spouse

There is no such thing as a common law spouse in Jersey. Partners who are not married or civil partners are effectively strangers to each other under Jersey inheritance law even if they co-habit together. This means that if you do not make a Will or where no provision has been made for an unmarried partner then he or she will not inherit from your estate. This can have disastrous consequences where one partner is reliant on the other or perhaps where children from the relationship or a previous relationship inherit by default. It is therefore even more important to take advice to protect each other where you are in a committed relationship but do not intend to tie the knot. A cohabitation agreement is advisable for clients in this situation to sit alongside a Will.

How much will it cost?

If your affairs are straightforward, we’ll recommend a fixed fee Will as a cost-effective way to plan your estate. If your circumstances are complex or you require bespoke drafting or additional advice, we will usually charge for the time we spend assisting you although we are happy to fix these costs where we can. Costs are discounted where LPAs are requested at the same time as your Will is prepared.

We offer a no obligation 30-minute consultation if required

Contact Simon Lofthouse for more information. E-mail simon.lofthouse@corbettlequesne.com or call 00 44 1534 733030.