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Estate planning

Make sure your wishes are fulfilled during your lifetime and beyond with bespoke estate planning guidance from Key

Estate planning solutions that work for you

Estate planning can seem both overwhelming and complicated; at Key, we are here to guide you. We’ll help break down the complexities of how to plan your estate to make the distribution of your assets as simple and clear as possible − so you can focus on enjoying life right now.

Below, you'll find everything you need to know on the process, from what is estate planning and why is it important, through to how our estate planning specialists can help you ensure the protection and best use of your assets for the future.

And if you'd like to find out more or you have any questions, you can book a callback with one of our friendly, specialist estate planners. They'll be happy to talk with you about your options. 

What is estate planning?

Estate planning makes sure you have the correct and up-to-date legal documents in place when it comes to you and your estate. In other words, it's a clear plan that shows how you'd like your estate to be managed when you die or are unable or unwilling to make decisions for yourself.

  • Estate planning helps safeguard your wishes so that your estate is taken care of by those you trust, and as you intended
  • It can help protect your family and any other beneficiaries from the impact of inheritance tax
  • It ensures that when the person looking after your estate applies for probate, they'll know what your wishes were
  • There are a range of options including Wills, lasting powers of attorney (LPAs), trusts and living Wills


Is estate planning the same as a Will?

Wills and estate planning are two terms that are often tossed around interchangeably, but it’s important to understand that they don’t mean the same thing. Will planning is a relatively simple process that details your last Will and testament and dictates what is to become of your assets after your death. Estate planning is a more complex process that incorporates a variety of documents concerning securing your assets, one element of which is Will planning.

Because of the level of detail required, it is best to seek the advice of a professional when it comes to planning your estate. Our specialists are here to help make the process as simple, stress-free and efficient as possible by delivering estate planning solutions that are tailored to your situation and assets.

Why is estate planning important?

Why have an estate plan? Considering it’s a sensitive topic on numerous grounds, it’s a fair question. But while thinking about the future and discussing your plans with your loved ones can be hard, the importance of Wills and estate planning cannot be overstated. It may never seem like the right time to have such a difficult conversation, but planning for the future now offers you and your family complete peace of mind, not to mention a sense of security, financially and otherwise, for your nearest and dearest.

Control what happens to your assets

A Will, for example, is one of the most important documents you'll arrange in your lifetime. Without a Will, you have no control over what happens to your estate and your assets will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy, which may not be the way you planned. For instance, if you and your partner are not married or in a civil partnership, they stand to inherit nothing from your estate because of how intestacy laws prioritise asset distribution. Will planning is just one absolutely essential part of the wider estate planning process.

Choose someone to ensure your wishes are carried out

Likewise, there may be a time in the future when you don't have the mental capacity to make decisions, or you would prefer for loved ones to do so on your behalf. If you haven’t got a valid lasting power of attorney (LPA) in these circumstances, the Court of Protection may need to get involved. This can be a lengthy and costly process, and your appointed attorney may not be the person you would have chosen to make decisions when you can't. Thus, assigning an LPA should be an integral part of your asset planning too.

Mitigate inheritance tax

It's never nice to think about death and how you'll arrange your affairs after you’re gone, but it’s crucial if you want to mitigate inheritance tax for your loved ones. When you have arranged financial estate planning early on, you can be sure that your loved ones will have the freedom to carry out your wishes, and that you’ve done everything in your power to make sure your estate and assets are maximised and designated appropriately. With estate planning, it's always the case that the earlier you can start planning for the future, the better.
At Key, our personal service and bespoke estate planning solutions give you the help and expertise you need to make sure you’re fully prepared, no matter what the future holds.

How much does estate planning cost?

Wills and estate planning costs can vary from client to client depending on the number and type of services they require. However, we charge fixed prices for each of our services. While many solicitors charge by the hour or based on a percentage of your estate’s value, all our rates remain consistent, which means no nasty surprises for you coming out of the process.

With estate planning, there is always the option to carry out your Will and LPA designations yourself, typically at a reduced cost to working with professionals. However, the complexities of estate planning and the need for watertight documentation mean that the task is neither practical nor cost-effective for the average person. We believe our services, and the protections they afford toward your assets, more than make up for their cost in terms of future value.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Estate planning, arranging your personal affairs and getting the correct documentation in place can feel like a daunting task, but Key are here to help you through the entire process. Of course, with such a complicated subject, there comes plenty of questions. Here are some answers to the most common ones we get asked:

Are there any annual fees?

There are no annual fees with our estate planning service unless you take Will storage where there is a fee every 3 years if you require to carry on your storage subscription.

How long does the process take?

For your Will documents to be created we generally allow for a 30 working day completion period. For an LPA to be completed, the typical turnaround time is eight weeks.

Are Key's estate planners qualified?

All of our Will writers are certified members of The Society of Will Writers. This means they're qualified to set up your Will in accordance with the society's strict Code of Practice and have undertaken the appropriate training to make sure your wishes are correctly documented.

What documents are needed for estate planning?

We can walk you through everything your estate plan requires, but the fundamentals of any plan are a Will or trust; an assigned lasting power of attorney; beneficiary designations; a letter of intent; and guardianship designations – as well as a number of potential other terms that may be relevant.

How many attorneys can I have?

You can choose to appoint more than one attorney if you wish. We recommend that you have at least two in place should anything happen to one of your attorneys.

What is a trust agreement in estate planning? 

A trust agreement is a document that outlines the details of your wishes for your property that is to be held in trust for your beneficiaries.

Is life insurance good for estate planning?

With proper guidance, life insurance can play a vital role in estate planning because insurance proceeds can be used to cover expenses such as estate tax, which will help to keep other assets intact. Get in touch with our team to find out more on how life insurance can be used in estate planning.

Are the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) fees included?

Fees from the Office of the Public Guardian are charged separately and are dependent on your financial circumstances. For example, people on income support may be entitled to a discount or this service free of charge.

Things to consider

These pages give a general overview of the issues surrounding estate planning and are based on our understanding of the current law and tax regulation in England and Wales, which may be subject to change.
Page last updated: Monday 20 December 2021