How can I ensure that my affairs are in order? 

Man signing paperwork at Ellis-Fermor & Negus, Belper

Ellis-Fermor & Negus provide expert legal advice on all aspects of family law, as well as a number of other sectors. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

There is a lot more to think about when sorting out your affairs than simply writing a Will

An experienced team of solicitors, such as Belper’s Ellis Fermor & Negus, can help you understand the various legal procedures, advise you on how to set up a trust and regularly review your nominated trustees.  

Grace Steele, a director and solicitor at Ellis Fermor, shares with us some of the lesser-known considerations and how they can benefit your family’s future. 

Grace Steele at Ellis Fermor & Negus, Derbyshire

As a director and solicitor with over 30 years of experience, Grace Steele is well equipped to help clients with inheritance tax planning, Wills and Lifetime Trusts. - Credit: Ellis-Fermor & Negus

Q: What are the major legal factors to consider alongside Will writing? 

A: There are two key areas that are important to highlight, which are life policies and trusts. Life policies provide insurance to family and loved ones who will receive them in the event of a person’s death. Quite often, money is used to help them pay the inheritance tax before the grant of probate is issued. Life policies drafted for this purpose are often ‘written in trust’.  

 It’s necessary to periodically review your trust documentation, ensuring that it is correctly signed, dated and that your chosen trustees are still suitable. We usually recommend that trust documents are examined every three years, in conjunction with a Will review. We can help clients ensure documents are kept up to date, and change trustees if necessary. 

Q: What are the benefits of establishing a life policy? 

A: Life policy payments do not usually form part of the estate of a person who has died. This means that it does not come into the calculation for inheritance tax. Another benefit is making provision for children of former marriages and relationships. 

The policy payment can provide a source of funds for children from a previous relationship in the event there is insufficient money from your estate for them. This safeguards the future and standard of living for your family and current partner. 

Q: How can reviewing your trust documents regularly help to reduce future difficulties? 

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It is crucial that your life policy documents are correct and in order. For example, it is important to ensure the details of your nominated trustees and beneficiaries are up to date in order to prevent any delays to the payment being made. 

Solicitor talking through paperwork at Ellis-Fermor, Derbyshire

It is always advisable to have Wills, Trust documents and other paperwork examined and approved by a solicitor to ensure all legalities are met. - Credit: Getty Images

Q: Why should someone seek legal advice when sorting out their paperwork? 

A: Life policies and trust documents are very specialised with legal implications. Having your documents reviewed by a solicitor, particularly your trust documents, will ensure that all legal parameters are met, giving peace of mind going forward. 

Grace Steele is a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and is also one of very few Solicitors in the Derbyshire area to be chartered by the Institute of Taxation. Grace specialises in Inheritance Tax matters and provides expert, bespoke advice to all our clients to suit their circumstances and needs. 

For more information on the financial considerations of Wills, trusts and life policies, visit or call their Belper office on 01773 821665.