About us

Although our offices need to be closed, we can still help you via the telephone and video-conferencing.

If you would like our services, now, please contact us on  bruce.de.wert@georgesons.co.uk

We will then arrange a virtual appointment, if appropriate to your needs.

We have been helping people like you since 1887.

With offices at Wick, Tain and Thurso, if you are local, we can see you but, if you are wanting to move into the area, we can help you with a “virtual” appointment.

Our core business includes

With our friendly staff and detailed legal experience you can count on us to provide you a first rate service.

Property

Buying, Selling and Leasing property (including Crofts).

Wills

We will help you make your wishes known to ensure your property and possessions go to the ones you love.

Powers of Attorney

A Power of Attorney will protect you, your loved ones and your possessions.

Confirmation (Probate)

Dealing with the affairs and estate of a loved one after they die.

Notary Services

If you find yourself in a position where you require the services of a notary public then its important to obtain this in advance.

Partnerships & Trusts

Latest news.

Property

Buying and selling property couldn’t be easier.

You see, we care! So call now!

Wick 01955 602222 / Tain 01862 892555

Buying Property

Selling Property

Buying Property

As local solicitors since 1887, we have huge experience both of the North of Scotland property market and have the know-how to guide you through the whole process of buying your home.

There have been immense changes in the law relating to buying your property, particularly the registration process and nothing is as it was. We aim, however, to make it as simple and seamless, for you, as possible.

Where you are selling as well as buying, our aim is to ensure that the move is on the same day and without stress.

Selling your Property

As local solicitors since 1887, we have huge experience both of the North of Scotland property market and the know-how to guide you through the whole process of selling your home.

There have been immense changes in the law relating to selling your property and nothing is as it was. We aim, however, to make it as simple and seamless, for you, as possible.

Where you are buying as well as selling, our aim is to ensure that the move is on the same day and without stress.

Georgesons Estate Agents

Want to sell your home? Want to get the best price? Then give yourself the best chance!

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Probate

How can we help you?

There can be a great deal of emotional stress after the death of a loved one. And dealing with all the associated legal, tax and administrative processes can be an additional strain. Unless you’ve experienced bereavement before, you will probably be unsure just what you have to do. You’re likely to be faced with a barrage of unfamiliar terms such as Confirmation (Probate in England), Intestacy and others, and have a lot of questions on matters that require immediate attention.

Let us carry the load of Probate and Estate Administration

Dealing with someone’s affairs when they die can be complicated, confusing and lengthy, often taking months to complete. Not what you need at a distressing and emotional time. We can help you through what is a difficult time. Whether you need some advice on what steps to take in dealing with the estate of a loved one or you are looking for someone to carry out services on your behalf, we are here to help you.

Probate

What is Confirmation?

The legal authority to administer the estate

A Grant of Confirmation is an order of the Court giving one or more people the legal authority to administer the estate of the deceased in order to distribute it correctly to the beneficiaries.

Who can apply for the Grant of Confirmation?

The people who have the right to apply for Confirmation are the Personal Representatives (PRs) of the estate. PRs are either the Executors named in the Will or the next of kin following the Rules of Intestacy if there is no Will.

The people named in the Grant of Confirmation are legally responsible and ultimately liable for the administration of the estate of the deceased. The decision about who is named on the Grant of Representation is a very important one because it carries this responsibility.

Probate

The role of the executor of a Will

Your role and responsibilities explained

Being named as an Executor of a Will brings with it complicated and sometimes onerous duties when someone dies and often takes months to complete. It is important to get it right because the Executor is legally responsible for administering the estate according to the wishes of the Will. They are responsible for everything they do or fail to do in this regard.

This can be a very daunting prospect, especially once you come to realise that the role carries with it considerable administrative, legal and tax responsibilities. If you find yourself in this situation don’t worry, we are here to help.

Some of our most frequently asked questions are listed in the following pages but each case is unique and you may have your own questions to ask. Our team can help, providing free initial advice and guidance on these responsibilities and if required, we’ll take on the role on your behalf.

Rest assured, we’re here to provide personal, confidential and expert advice to you.

INTESTACY

What is Intestacy?

When someone dies without leaving a valid Will they are said to have died Intestate. In these circumstances the Rules of Intestacy apply and these determine who will administer and who will benefit from the deceased’s estate.

In such circumstances, before it can be determined who the beneficiaries are, the first step is to establish who should be administering the estate.

When identifying administrators and beneficiaries, care and diligence is required to avoid mistakes being made. This is where our expertise can be invaluable.

At Georgesons, we’re here to provide as much help and guidance as you need. We can:

  • Help you understand who the administrators are in your particular case
  • Explain in detail the role, responsibility and ultimate liability of an administrator
  • Explain the benefits of appointing us on your behalf to take on the legal responsibilities.
  • If you choose to instruct us we take on all the responsibility and potential liability associated with administering the estate of the deceased.
  • Not only will you be provided with a personal, confidential and expert service, you will no longer have to bear the burden and responsibility for the effective administration of the estate, giving you the peace of mind required

Probate

Inheritance Tax

Before the Grant of Representation is obtained it is necessary to value the estate of the deceased and to identify any Inheritance Tax due. The correct Inheritance Tax form must be identified and correctly completed and submitted to HM Revenue & Customs. As part of the Grant of Probate application you must prove either that you have paid any Inheritance Tax due, or that there is none to pay.

Every person has an Inheritance Tax-free allowance on death. The threshold at which Inheritance Tax is due is called the nil rate band, above which Inheritance Tax is payable at 40%.”

Tax Year

Nil Rate band

2008-2009

£312,000

2009-date

£325,000

Importantly, spouses or civil partners are able to transfer the unused portion of their “nil-rate band” to the surviving spouse or civil partner to use on their death. Care needs to be taken in order to accurately prove when any unused portion of the nil-rate band transfers from one spouse to another.

In addition, if you are married or in a civil partnership, you may be able to take advantage of a new tax break relating to your house.

Making a Will

We will help you make your wishes known to ensure your property and possessions go to the ones you love, so you can have complete peace of mind and reduce the worry, stress and likelihood of disagreements for those you leave behind.

Do I need a will?

Understanding your needs

Making a WILL

Do I need a will?

I’m single, do I need a will?

It’s really important to have a Will if you are single because without one, your assets and possessions will be distributed in line with what the law says, rather than with what you want. The Rules of Intestacy will pass your property to your next of kin who may well not be who you would have chosen to inherit.

I’m buying a house, do I need a will?

Having a Will makes sure that your house and possessions are left to whoever you choose once you are no longer here. Not having a Will could mean that your house is left to someone whom you don’t want to benefit.

We have children do we need a will?

There are a number of reasons why it’s important to have a Will if you have children:

  • You can legally state who should look after them if you died unexpectedly
  • You can make sure that they inherit your assets and possessions when you’re no longer here
  • For children over 16, a Will allows you say at what age you would like them to inherit.

If you do not have a Will, others could make decisions about who will take care of your children and manage their finances. It may also mean that each of your children receives the same amount of inheritance, which may not be what you want.

I want to provide for a charity

Your Will allows to you to specify if you would like to leave an amount to a favourite charity or organisation. Charitable gifts also attract special tax relief which could be beneficial if your assets exceed £325,000.

Making a WILL

There is no such thing as a standard Will

Your Will is personal to your circumstances, your wishes and your assets. When you make your Will you will need to consider:

  • Who will look after your children?
  • What will happen to your home?
  • How much inheritance tax will be due?
My Relationship

If you die without a Will your estate is distributed in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy. The Rules of Intestacy state who will inherit your property when you are gone. The Rules were created a considerable time ago and do not reflect the diversity of our current relationships and don’t make provisions for unmarried partners, step children and friends.

Looking after children

It’s not easy to think what would happen to your children if you were to die. However a Will can give you the peace of mind of knowing that they’d be protected and cared for.

Taking care of loved ones

Apart from your partner, children or stepchildren, you may want to provide for others in your Will including friends, vulnerable or disabled loved ones or even pets.

Taking care of vulnerable loved ones

Taking care of loved ones who are mentally or physically disadvantaged is a particularly important responsibility. You can protect vulnerable loved ones by leaving clear instructions in your Will, so you know that they’ll be properly taken care of.

Providing for Charities or other Organisations

Many people wish to leave money to their favourite charity, and make this known in their Will.

Preventing people from inheriting my Property and Possessions

Unfortunately not every family gets on and sometimes rifts will mean that you won’t want a particular person in your close family to benefit from your property and possessions when you’re gone.

Loss of ability to act and think independently

Although it may be difficult to accept, it is possible that you might become unable to understand situations or communicate your own thoughts because of an illness or an accident. This could have wide-ranging implications for you and your family.

Protecting Property and Possessions

Put simply, your ‘estate’ is the total value of all your property and possessions after any debts that you owe are paid. So once your debts are paid, what’s left is your estate which contains all the assets you can pass to your loved ones either under your Will or under the Rules of Intestacy.

Inheritance Tax

Currently, the maximum amount anyone can leave without having to pay Inheritance Tax (on death) is £325,000.  Writing an appropriate Will during your lifetime could legitimately reduce the impact inheritance tax has upon your estate.

A Power of Attorney will protect you, your loved ones and your possessions

Losing the ability to make decisions and communicate feelings is a difficult thing to think about – and if it happened to you, you’d have to rely on others to care for you and look after your affairs.

Welfare Power of Attorney

Continuing Power of Attorney

Powers of Attorney

A Power of Attorney will protect you, your loved ones and your possessions

Losing the ability to make decisions and communicate feelings is a difficult thing to think about – and if it happened to you, you’d have to rely on others to care for you and look after your affairs.

A Welfare Power of Attorney (WPA) is a legal document enabling you to name trusted and known individuals, your “Attorneys” with legal authority to handle your care on your behalf, if you can’t look after yourself through mental or physical incapacity. Your WPA should reflect your wishes and needs, so that you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’ve taken care of things that matter most to you.

The sorts of decisions that can be made on your behalf relate to, for instance, your medical treatment, where you live, who you see, what you wear and other issues of a similar personal nature.

Welfare powers cannot be exercised until you are deemed incapable of making those decisions yourself. It does, however, mean that those decisions are made by your loved ones rather than, for instance, a doctor.

It is most often granted in addition to a Continuing Power of Attorney and all within the same document.

Powers of Attorney

A Power of Attorney will protect you, your loved ones and your possessions

Losing the ability to make decisions and communicate feelings is a difficult thing to think about – and if it happened to you, you’d have to rely on others to care for you and look after your affairs.

A Continuing Power of Attorney (CPA) is a legal document enabling you to name trusted and known individuals, your “Attorneys” with legal authority to handle your property and financial affairs on your behalf, if you can’t look after yourself through mental or physical incapacity. Your CPA should reflect your wishes and needs, so that you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’ve taken care of things that matter most to you.

A CPA can come into effect even when you are still capable, if you would prefer your affairs to be handled by another.

Protecting your possessions

Protecting my home

Your home may well be your most significant asset, and of great emotional importance, so you’d probably go to great lengths to protect it. But if you don’t have the right plans in place now, being unable to deal with your own affairs because of mental or physical incapacity in future could affect your ability to keep your home running effectively (mortgage, insurance, bills etc). With an CPA, you’ll ensure someone can transfer income into the right account to cover the mortgage or insurance. They could also access your savings accounts if an unexpected expense occurred – or they could make an insurance claim on your behalf.

When protecting your home, it’s not only financial matters that are relevant – healthcare is also an important factor. Often, when people need residential care, they must sell their home to meet the costs involved. A CPA can record your specific wishes as to where and how you’d like to be cared for, should this become necessary. So you could be cared for at home instead of in a care home, in which case you could protect your property for you and your loved ones.

Protecting my finances

If you lose the ability to act or express yourself independently, you need to consider how you’ll support yourself financially. If you’re working when you lose your physical or mental independence, you might continue to receive salary, so it needs to be accessible for payment of your outgoings and for family support. Or you may need to restructure your finances to deal with changing circumstances, perhaps investing a lump sum payment or moving existing assets so as to generate more income.

If you don’t have an CPA and can’t deal with these matters yourself, there’ll probably be delay and expense whilst an application is made to the courts. An CPA allows you to appoint someone to deal with these matters for you – and they can take control immediately if you become incapacitated

Protecting my estate from Inheritance Tax

You might have saved up retirement funds by the time you become incapacitated – but you may no longer need those assets, so careful tax planning now could reduce the impact of Inheritance Tax on your estate, helping to preserve the value of your estate for future generations.

Protecting my business

If you’re self-employed, you should consider what would happen to your business if you lost the ability to deal with your own business affairs. You might have a business account in your sole name, joint accounts with other business owners, or shares in your name which would need to be sold or managed on your behalf. And have you considered what would happen if you couldn’t pay your employees? Having a CPA could mean the difference between your business continuing to operate and ceasing to operate altogether.

Notary Services

A Notary Public will be required in the following situations:

Foreign Documents

Documents to be used in a foreign jurisdiction will require to be executed in front of a Notary Public. Examples are notarising entry of a person to overseas territories, formation of overseas companies, statutory declaration to marry abroad.

Oaths, Affidavits and Affirmations

Legal documents, usually required when selling a property, under the Matrimonal Homes (Family Protection) (Scotland) Act 1981 will require to be signed in front of a Notary Public.

Notarial Execution

Legal documents signed by a Notary Public on behalf of persons who are blind or unable to write.

Power of Attorney

A document to authorise someone to act on your behalf in a legal or business matter.

If you find yourself in a position whereby you require the services of a Notary Public then it is important to obtain this in advance. We understand that this is not always possible and due to unforeseen circumstances you may require Notary Public Services as a matter of extreme urgency and we are here to help.

Our Team

Here and happy to help.

Bruce De Wert

Principle Solicitor

Karen Gunn

Conveyanging Paralegal

Helen MacDonald

Executry Paralegal

Karen Robertson

Principle Estate Agent

Nicola Ward

Estate Agent

Emma MacDonald

Estate Agent

Mark Leale

Cashier

Latest news

Find out the latest news at Georgesons Solicitors.

Sadly, common mistakes can cause problems after your death and […]

  • Phone: 01955 606060
  • E-mail: servicedesk@georgesons.co.uk
  • Address: 22 Bridge St. Wick, Caithness
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