Wills, Probate and Inheritance

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Wills and Probate Solicitors in Carlisle, Cumbria & Northumberland

Wills and Powers of Attorney are vitally important legal documents and a fundamental part of any estate plan. A will (last will and testament), is a legal document which allows you to determine who will inherit your assets when you pass and ensures they are dealt with in the way you would choose. If you do not make a will, the state determines who inherits your assets – this may not be who you or your family want. Therefore, making a will is a vitally important procedure offering peace of mind to all parties.


Probate is the legal process whereby a last will and testament is proved in court and accepted as valid and the true last will and testament of the deceased. If you are an executor on someone’s will, you may have to apply for probate. This then gives you the authority to share out a person’s assets as detailed in their will.

How we can help

No-one has more experience with wills and estate administration than our team here at Cartmell Shepherd – so you can rely on us to put everything in place to ensure that your wishes are carried out without problems, hold-ups or disputes. We take great pride in providing an expert personal service, offering sympathetic advice and guidance to guarantee that matters are handled exactly as you would want them to be. We are also specialists in the world of trusts and the law as it affects elderly people.

Areas of Wills, Probate & Inheritance that our expertise covers include:

  • Drawing up & amending wills
  • Tax & estate planning
  • Probate & estate administration
  • Trust formation & administration
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Court of Protection work
  • Safeguarding assets
  • Probate disputes

We have a specialist Will Dispute Team consisting of four solicitors. For more details please see our separate site:


Why should I make a will?

It is important that you make a will to ensure that your estate (money, property and possessions) is distributed in the way you wish it to be, when you die. If you die without a will, there are rules which dictate how your estate will be distributed. For example, unmarried partners cannot inherit from one another without a will. This could leave your partner with major financial difficulties.

Do I have to use a solicitor make a will?

You can write your will yourself, however it is generally advisable to use a solicitor to ensure your will has the effect you intend it to. It is easy to make mistakes during the process of drawing up your will and if there are error, this can cause issues after your death. Of the question is a draft will valid in the UK – for a will to be valid, it must meet the following requirements under the Wills Act 1837:

• It must be in writing.
• It must be signed by the testator (the person making the will) or by someone else in their presence and at their direction.
• The testator must intend for the signature to give effect to the will.
• The will must be signed in the presence of two witnesses, who must also sign the will in the presence of the testator.

What does the executor do?

The executor is the person named in a will as responsible for taking care of the deceased’s estate.

What is probate and do I always need it?

Probate is the legal process of dealing with someone’s estate when the die. Being granted probate means you can lawfully manage their estate. You will need to apply for probate if you are a named executor on the deceased’s will. The executor or administrator is not required to apply for probate but if they do not, they will not be able to transfer the title of any assets that exist in the deceased’s name.

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