YOUR APPOINTMENTwith Dunham McCarthy

Advice For Your Family

At Dunham McCarthy, we understand that every client is an individual, with individual concerns. During your estate planning consultation we seek to fully understand your circumstances, hopes and goals before anticipating your future needs so that we can plan accordingly. Together, our team of specialists and associates will help you and your family plan for the future. In your first appointment we will cover the range of services listed below to ensure that you have all of the information that you need to make an educated decision on whats best for you and your family.

We are a private client firm that specialises in wills & trusts, so be assured our experienced team are experts in their field.
We are full members of the Institute of Professional Willwriters; the independent body who regulates our business.
Video Appointment
For your convenience, all of the services that we provide are completed using a combination of telephone and video appointments.
In the last 10 years, we have produced over 30,000 wills, trusts and powers of attorney.
We currently have over 112 reviews on Google; 105 of which are 5 stars, the remaining 7 are 4 stars.

Lasting Powers of Attorney

Protect your family in the event of incapacity; make your LPA for Health and Property Decisions.

Estate Administration

No matter how simple or complex we can help at every stage of the estate administration process.

Funeral Plans

Arrange and pay for your funeral in advance so that the price is fixed, and to make it more simple for your relatives.
Legal <strong>Advice</strong>

Legal Advice

Have you made your Will? What about your LPAs or Funeral Plan? Our specialist Estate Planners are here to protect your family.
Insurance <strong>Advice</strong>

Insurance Advice

Our colleagues at Dunham McCarthy Financial Services will make sure your family are financially secure in any situation.
Mortgage <strong>Advice</strong>

Mortgage Advice

On a lighter note, the mortgage advisors at DM Mortgages can help you move home, re-mortgage or invest in buy-to-let property.




A fully qualified estate planner will talk you through your choices. If you are unsure of anything during this first meeting, you will have the opportunity to confirm details on the second meeting.



At this meeting we check your draft document(s) and discuss any services that you may require. During this meeting we record details of your assets and liabilities so please have paperwork available for any savings, investments or insurance policies.


Finalising Documents

(If Necessary)

In this meeting you final documents will be checked and the attestation process explained. We will tie up any loose ends and conclude the process.

A single Will for a single person; fully advised from start to finish.
Two 'mirrored' wills suitable for a married or co-habiting couple.
Two “mirrored” wills with trusts designed to protect the family home.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I make a Will?

We would advise that every person makes a Will during their lifetime. It give you the opportunity to state who you would like to benefit from your estate when you have passed away. You can also appoint executors, guardians and include your funeral wishes.

If you die without a valid Will, you will have died “intestate”. Legislation will then stipulate who takes receipt of your estate. This could result in your spouse, partner or children losing out, and your estate instead passing to people that you would not have chosen.

By making a Will, you are ensuring that your family will be taken care of and making the administration process much simpler.

I was told my Will would be free, not the price shown above?

We charge £139 to write a Will although we offer many employers both public & private a free Will writing service as part of their staff benefits. We also run a referral scheme for our existing clients to extend our free Will writing service to their friends and family. This has been a great benefit to both us and them because many of our clients ask us to help them in other ways.

Why should I make a LPA?

Two in every three people will lose their mental capacity at some point. For many, this is the result of an illness such as a stroke, a coma, Alzheimer’s or dementia. Capacity can be lost through an accident too.

If you were to lose your mental capacity, and you do not have a valid Lasting Power of Attorney in place, things can become very difficult. In such circumstances, your loved ones would have to apply to become your “Deputy” through the Court of Protection. Deputyship can be a time consuming and costly court process; often entering into thousands of pounds.

Also, whilst a deputyship application is pending, the court will freeze all of your accounts and assets (including joint assets). In many cases, these assets can be frozen for several months.

What are "mirrored" Wills?

“Mirrored” Wills are commonly made by unmarried or married couples. Each person has their own document, but the wishes contained within them will be pretty much identical. For example, a “mirrored” Will may say that a couple want to leave everything to each other first, but then when both of them have passed away, the estate should pass to their children.

What is my residuary estate?

This is a term used to describe what assets of yours are left after any gifts, debts, tax funeral costs and other testamentary expenses have been paid.

The remainder of your assets are then distributed to your beneficiaries. This could include: your bank accounts, property and personal possessions.

Your residuary estate does not include things such as jointly owned property or bank accounts. It would also not include pensions or life insurance policies that have been written into trust – you would normally have nominated someone to receive these when you set them up.

I want to leave my estate to my children, but they are still young. How would this work?

You have to be at least 18 years of age to receive any inheritance that you may have been left. Sometimes clients feel that 18 years of age is still too young, and will instead opt for 21 or 25. Where a person is under the age of 18 (or whatever age you have specified), their inheritance would be looked after for them by trustees. The trustees would have the discretion to distribute money to them as and when they see fit. Once the child has attained the age of 18 or older, they will then become responsible for their inheritance and make all the decisions for themselves.

What is an Executor?

An Executor is someone who deals with the administration of your estate. You will appoint these people in your Will, and they are most likely to be close relatives or friends. For more complicated estates, it is not uncommon for someone to appoint a professional to act as their Executor.

An Executor is responsible for the following:

  • Finding your Will;
  • Locating and valuing your assets;
  • Paying off any debts that there may be at that time;
  • Distributing the remainder of your assets (your residuary estate) to your beneficiaries.
What is a Trustee?

A trustee is someone who looks after your property until a given time in the future. For example, where money has been left to a child, and they are unable to inherit until they attain a certain age.

Trustees must act with honesty, and integrity. Their responsibilities include: taking control of trust property, to safeguard such property and to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries.

What is a Guardian?

A guardian is someone that you appoint to look after your child/children if something happens to you whilst they are under the age of 18.

If you pass away leaving young children, and you have not appointed a guardian, it will then become the role of the courts to find someone suitable to care for them. This could mean that someone other than who you would like is appointed to look after them.

What is an Attorney?

An Attorney is a person that you appoint to make decisions on your behalf if you are ill or lose capacity. As you are giving the authority to your attorneys to act, the courts do not need to be involved. Attorneys must act in your best interests whilst dealing with the things that you would normally have dealt with yourself had you not lost capacity.

Attorneys must:

  • act in accordance with the Mental Capacity Act 2005’s principles;
  • have regard to the guidance in the Code of Practice;
  • act only within the scope of the authority given;
  • carry out instructions as required by the LPA;
  • to keep records of decisions and transactions made;
  • not delegate powers unless authorised to do so.

The role of an attorney is hugely important. A great deal of care and consideration should be taken when deciding who to appoint in this role

What is a Trust?

A trust is a way of managing assets (money, investments, land or buildings) for people. There are different types of trusts and they are all taxed differently.

The main reasons trusts are set up are:

  • to control and protect family assets
  • when someone’s too young to handle their affairs
  • when someone cannot handle their affairs because they’re incapacitated
  • to pass on assets while you’re still alive
  • to pass on assets when you die (a ‘will trust’)
What is a Property Protection Trust?

Generally, couples want the family home to pass to their children. They often leave their assets to each other initially, in the hope that everything will pass to their children in due course.

Unfortunately, things are not always this straightforward. For example, if your partner was to start a new relationship or re-marry after your death, the property could pass “sideways” to their new partner or spouse. Also, if the survivor has to go into care in their later years, the property could be sold to pay for their care fees.

A Property Protection Trust is a simple solution, and comes into force after the death of the first partner. When the first partner passes away, they do not leave their share to the survivor. They instead place their share into a protective property trust, with the survivor and the children named as beneficiaries. When the survivor later passes away, the share that has been protected under the trust will pass to the children; even where the survivor has re-married, gone into care, gone bankrupt or changed their Will.

What is a Disabled Persons Trust?

If you plan on leaving an inheritance to a vulnerable or disabled beneficiary a trust can provide financial stability whilst also protecting them and their inheritance; even where the survivor has re-married, gone into care, gone bankrupt or changed their Will.

Although trusts have many benefits, this particular trust ensures that where the beneficiary is entitled to means-tested benefits, the entitlement is maintained. Additionally, control of the trust fund can be handed to trustees who then act in the best interests of the disabled / vulnerable beneficiary, this is essential where the beneficiary is incapable of managing the trust assets themselves.

Why take out a funeral plan?

In 2019, the average cost of a funeral was £3785*. This figure is increasing on an annual basis, and there may not always be sufficient funds available to cover such costs. This can often lead to difficulties for your loved ones, and they may have to assist with your funeral costs themselves.

A funeral plan allows you to fix the cost of your funeral at today’s prices. You can pay in a single payment or by monthly instalments.

They can be a simple and thoughtful way to provide for you and your family, and allow you to take care of the things you would prefer not to pass on to your family after you’ve gone e.g. funeral costs, and the stress of making detailed arrangements. Instead, you give your family the comfort and reassurance that they are carrying out your specific wishes.
Home Leigh, New Garden Street, Stafford, ST17 4AG
01785 336222

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Regulated by the Institute of Professional Willwriters. Registered in England and Wales Company Number 08290617. 

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Estate Planning Transaction Info

Estate Planning Transaction Info