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Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts & Probate Solicitors

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Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts & Probate Expertise

We have a large and experienced Private Client Department and can assist with creating the legal arrangements which suit your particular assets and needs.

At Mercers, we can assist in formulating the right estate planning strategy for you, and can advise on, and implement, all matters relating to Wills and the creation, administration and termination of trusts, to include all attendant Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax issues.

We work in conjunction with our clients’ other advisors, particularly accountants and wealth managers, where this is appropriate given each client’s particular circumstances.

  • Every adult should have a Will, it protects both you and your loved ones when you pass away.

    It is especially important to make or update your Will when changes to your life happen, such as having children, buying property, when you marry or, when you divorce.

    A correctly drafted Will ensures your specific intentions for the distribution of your home, money and possessions are efficiently carried out after your death avoiding disputes and easing family tensions.

    It is easy to make the mistake of believing you don’t need a Will, or of failing to update one if for example you re-marry or co-habit with a new partner. In these circumstances you need to make it clear in a Will what your wishes are in respect of both your new and former partner and associated families.

    Equally it is important to understand how to make your legacy tax-efficient and avoid paying unnecessary inheritance tax, or to protect the interests of children or grandchildren by using trusts to delay inheritance until they are of sufficient age.

    A Will is therefore one of the most important documents that you create in your lifetime, so it is vital that you receive the correct advice and assistance when preparing or amending your Will.

    The specialist Mercers team have been helping clients in Henley, and the Thames Valley to write and update their Wills for many years. Our team of friendly and experienced solicitors provide excellent advice based on a thorough understanding and sensitivity towards the issues involved. 

    Mercers Wills team help you make the correct decisions for the future. Our advice on inheritance law, trusts and taxation ensures your Will expresses your wishes, is legally valid and will prevent costly disputes after your death.

  • If you own property abroad, a business or have complex financial arrangements it is crucial to ensure that your estate is Inheritance Tax (IHT) efficient.

    IHT is a constantly evolving field of rules and legislation which is why good advice is essential when planning your tax affairs. 

    The specialist Mercers team are recognised experts in the field of IHT planning. We can advise on the most efficient plan to take advantage of the complex rules and exemptions to pass your wealth on.

    Intrinsically linked to other legal areas such as Wills, probate, trusts, family law and property Mercers holistic approach to IHT planning takes account of all your wishes and provides effective advice for all eventualities.

    Good communication between the solicitor drafting a Will, administering an estate, or creating a trust and the specialist Mercers tax manager ensures tax reporting and advice is correct, smooth & timely.

    This field of law moves quickly therefore we keep a focus on creating new or adapting existing IHT plans so they are always current and compliant, helping individuals and families protect their complex affairs for now and for the future.

  • Trusts are legal arrangements for managing assets. They are often used to control and protect family assets or when a beneficiary is too young or too incapacitated to handle their own affairs.

    Different kinds of assets can be put in trust including:

    • Cash
    • Property
    • Shares
    • Land

    Trusts can be set up at any time or written into your Will. The experienced, friendly team at Mercers can set up a trust for you, guiding you through everything you need to know including: setting out what the assets are, who the trustee(s) and beneficiaries are and when the trust becomes active.

    Trusts can be a complex issue so receiving the best advice is essential. In fact there are many different types of trust that we can guide you on depending on your personal circumstances and what you are trying to achieve. These include:

    • Bare Trusts
    • Interest in Possession Trusts
    • Discretionary Trusts
    • Trusts for a Vulnerable Person
    • Non-resident Trusts

    Tax also needs to be considered when putting assets into a trust. Different types of income from trusts attract different rates of income tax, while Inheritance Tax (IHT) will need to be paid at various points in the lifecycle of the trust as will Capital Gains Tax (CGT) should the assets create a profit.

    Trusts are undoubtedly a powerful tool when planning your financial affairs, with good advice from the specialist team at Mercers they can be a tax efficient method for protecting and passing on your valuable assets to the next generation.

  • Preparing for a future when you are less able and may suffer from an inability to make decisions through illness or accident is one of the most important protections you can give yourself. Creating Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) will ensure that decisions made about your future if you become mentally incapacitated are made by someone you trust.

    Mercers have drafted and registered LPAs for thousands of clients and have a friendly team with the knowledge and experience to guide you through the process, advise on who could be your attorney, register the LPAs and most importantly set your mind at rest.

    There are two kinds of LPA:

    Health & Welfare LPA – this covers health and welfare decisions such as medical care or moving to a care home, but can only be used if you lose mental capacity. 

    Property & Financial Affairs LPA – this LPA empowers the attorney to make decisions about your finances, tax affairs or what happens to your interest in a business, amongst other things. 

    With a Property & Finance LPA you can appoint the attorney to act on your behalf at any time, not just if mentally incapacitated, for example you may want someone to manage your financial affairs in England & Wales if you are living overseas for an extended period.

    By creating an LPA in both cases, you are ensuring decisions concerning your future will be made by someone you have appointed that you trust.

    Without an LPA when a family member or friend loses mental capacity no one will immediately have the authority to make important decisions on their behalf. Therefore, it may be necessary to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship, so you or someone else can act on their behalf. 

    The sympathetic team at Mercers is experienced at preparing, advising and administering both Deputyship applications and all other Court of Protection matters.

  • Managing the estate of a loved one after they have passed away can be time consuming, complicated and demanding at what is already a distressing time, no matter the size of the estate.

    Probate is the process of administering a deceased persons Estate. It involves calling in their assets, paying any debts owed, dealing with inheritance tax and distributing what remains according to their Will, if they have made one. The first step is to apply to the court for a Grant of Probate.

    Even for small estates the process and workload can be onerous, but for larger estates the task for the executor of the Will can be daunting. If there is no Will, known as dying ‘intestate’, the task becomes both daunting and more complex with an increased potential for family disputes.

    Mercers have a dedicated team with many years experience helping executors through the Probate process. In many cases clients trust us to administer all of the process knowing they will receive a helpful, friendly, efficient and effective service.

    We also have a great deal of experience dealing with contested Probate and Court of Protection matters, acting for executors, beneficiaries, trustees and administrators in bringing and defending claims using a cost-effective and pragmatic approach which achieves practical solutions in the best interests of our clients.

Team in this Department

paul scott

Paul Stott

Paul is a Consultant at Mercers and specialises in Capital Tax planning with particular reference to the use of Trusts, asset protection, and Wills.

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Guy Barker

Guy Barker

Guy has been a Partner of Mercers since 2002 and specialises in Private Client work.

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paula nichols

Paula Nichols

Paula is a Partner at Mercers and is head of the Private Client Department. She read modern languages (French and German) at Oxford and subsequently qualified as a solicitor in 2003.

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peter hopkins

Peter Hopkins

Peter is a Private Client Partner and Managing Partner, and part of the Contentious Trusts and Estates team. He read Geography at Cambridge.

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sarah crowther

Sarah Crowther

Sarah joined Mercers in 2007 as a Solicitor in the Private Client Department. Sarah is also a Notary Public.

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shella glanfield

Shella Glanfield

Shella is an Associate Solicitor in the Private Client Department, she joined the firm in 2013.

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Jenny Watson

Jenny Watson

Jenny is a full member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and a fully accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE).

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madeleine rumble

Madeleine Rumble

Madeleine has many years private client tax experience, having originally started her career at HM Revenue & Customs.

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Alexandra Parnell

Alexandra (Alex) is a Partner in the Private Client department at Mercers. Alex read Law at University and went on to attain a Masters in Legal Practice.

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What our clients have to say about Alexandra Parnell

I just want to thank you again for all your help. We couldn’t have placed ourselves in more trusting, caring hands than your good kind self. It was great we had the opportunity to meet you when we did Alex!

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