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Wills, Trusts and Estates

Our Wills, Trusts and Estates lawyers in Canterbury offer comprehensive and considered advice on managing a person’s estate (an estate is the assets and liabilities of an individual) as well as on a range of Wills and Trusts to suit your needs.

Having gained a reputation for providing trusted advice in what can be a highly personal area of your or your family’s life, we identify how best to hold or pass on assets and minimise any tax liabilities.

In particular, we can advise on:

  • Straightforward Wills and Reciprocal Wills
  • Tax Efficient Wills
  • Living Wills and Advanced Directives
  • Flexible Life Interest Wills
  • Wills For More Complicated Family Situations or For Asset Protection
  • Trusts, including;
    • Lifetime Trusts and Pilot Trusts
    • Vulnerable and Disabled Persons Trusts
    • Discretionary Trusts
    • Insurance Trusts
    • Charitable Trusts
    • Property Trusts
    • Trusts for Grandchildren

Writing A Will

Making a Will is imperative yet nearly three quarters of the population does not have one.

Many people seem unaware that without making a Will, your estate (which includes everything you own at the time of your death) will NOT automatically go to your spouse, partner or the person you intend.

Gardner Croft can help you make your Will and can guide you as to who should receive your money, property and special belongings when you die and perhaps even bring security to those you leave behind.

Inheritance Tax Planning

Inheritance tax (IHT) is charged on your death at the rate of 40% based on the value of your assets. This 40% rate is only charged on any value in excess of the nil rate band. The Nil Rate Band (currently £325,000) is the amount which is chargeable to IHT at the rate of 0%.

From 6th April 2017 the Residence Nil Rate Band now also applies, so that less IHT may be paid when the family home is left to direct descendants such as children, grandchildren and some other individuals.

Our role is to undertake a complete review of your estate, current personal circumstances and to advise you on the best way to plan your estate to mitigate any Inheritance Tax liability.

Whilst you may not wish to pay any unnecessary Inheritance Tax, there are also often important practical considerations to take into account, such as your personal financial security during your lifetime, or, perhaps, an additional desire to safeguard your assets from care fees.

It is possible that your various concerns have different estate planning applications. Our comprehensive approach enables us to advise you on the best way to achieve an acceptable balance which you feel meets your overall needs and wishes.


Dealing with an estate (the assets and liabilities of an individual), can be onerous and confusing. We can help to relieve clients of the worry and complexities of administering an estate. Our aim is to deal with the administration of the estate efficiently and in a compassionate but professional manner. Our experienced Probate and Estates lawyers are on hand to:

Deal with the Assets of the Deceased

This includes collating and scheduling the assets and liabilities of the estate, completing and submitting the application for a grant of probate, completing and submitting tax returns and arranging for the sale of assets if appropriate, and their distribution. We will advise you of every step of the administration.

Advise on Post-Death Deeds of Variation of a Will

A post-death Deed of Variation is possible in certain circumstances, and, if done within two years of the date of death, can appropriately achieve the outcome desired by the deceased.  In addition, considerable inheritance tax savings are often made by adopting the post-death Variation.

Challenging a Will

When someone dies and the contents of their Will are revealed, you may find that you are surprised or even shocked by the distribution of the assets. The law provides a great deal of freedom to a Will-maker to choose the people who benefit under the Will even though, in some cases, this may appear unjust.

Thinking of challenging a Will?

Gardner Croft are able to assist you with challenges that can be made to Wills essentially from two categories, which are that:

  1. The Will is invalid; or
  2. You have not been adequately provided for under the Will

There is also a separate category concerning contributions that people may have made to assets during the deceased’s lifetime, which have not been acknowledged. These claims would, however, be pursued separately to any challenges to the Will.