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Private Client Services

We have the experience and compassion when you need it most, helping you protect your family’s interests.  Protecting your wealth and inheritance for future generations is an important and delicate matter.  We believe that it is sensible to plan for the worst, to safeguard your family’s financial wellbeing, no matter what your age – and for that you need someone you can trust.

Our aim is to support your relatives or executors in making the administration of your estate as simple and smooth as possible. But should a Will dispute arise, you can rest assured that we will use our experience to ensure your wishes will always come first.

  • Should a family member become mentally incapacitated, and not have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) or Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) in place, it will be up to the Court of Protection to deal with their affairs. Their assets will be frozen until an application for ‘Deputyship’ is made to the Court of Protection – which allows either a relative, friend or court appointed professional Deputy to take over the running of their affairs.

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  • Inheritance Tax is charged on a person’s estate at the time of their death, but the first £325,000 is exempt - anything above this is taxed at 40%, and additional exemptions may be applicable depending on an individual’s circumstances. It is therefore important to organise your affairs in a way which minimises the amount of tax that your relatives may have to pay.

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  • This allows you to appoint someone to deal with as many aspects of your affairs as you require. They are bound by the Court of Protection and have a duty to act in your best interests - and will continue to have power should you lose mental capacity. There are two types of LPA:

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  • Appointing a Power of Attorney is a complex decision which needs to be tailored to the different needs of each situation. There are now two different types of ‘Lasting Power of Attorney’ - but the older ‘Enduring Powers of Attorney’ are still valid, if they were made before the system changed. You can also still appoint a General Power of Attorney, but this can only be used when the donor has full mental capacity – for example enabling someone else to make financial decisions on their behalf while they are away on holiday.

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  • Probate is the legal process you have to go through when someone dies, in order to administer their estate. Often the last thing on your mind when you’ve lost a loved one is dealing with their financial affairs – so our experienced and sensitive team will aim to make the difficult task of probate as pain free as possible.

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  • If you have an interest in a freehold or leasehold property - which belonged to or was lived in by a deceased person - then we can advise you whether you might be entitled to all, some or none of the proceeds of the sale. Your interest will be categorised into one of two areas, depending on your circumstances:

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  • Addressing what may happen once you have gone is something no-one likes to think about, but leaving others to sort out your financial affairs after death can be fraught with problems. Making a Will is not expensive - and it’s important to have peace of mind that your spouse, children and estate will be taken care of should the worst happen.

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  • Disputes between family members or executors over Wills can be emotional and difficult to resolve. We always aim to help you deal with these situations sensitively and impartially - to ensure problems are ironed out with minimum cost and anxiety. We can deal with a wide range of issues, including:

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  • When someone dies, it’s surprisingly common for family members to be unsure if they made a Will, let alone know where it is stored. A missing Will can cause your family worry, stress and problems when dealing with your estate. Certainty is the only UK Register of Wills, and its main objective is to ensure that your Will can be quickly and easily located by your family when it is needed - and not overlooked, lost or untraced.

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  • We are delighted to be an accredited member of the Law Society’s Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme (WIQS). This shows that we follow best practice procedures - to meet the highest standards of technical expertise and client service when providing tailored wills and probate advice:

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  • Dagmara Kulczykowska is a member of STEP, which is the global professional association for practitioners who specialise in family inheritance and succession planning.

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  • An executor is the person with legal responsibility who deals with all the administration work involved in ensuring that the wishes in your Will are fulfilled and that the beneficiaries receive what they are entitled to.

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THE Private Client Services team

  • Dagmara Kulczykowska Partner
    Private Client Services 01908 689341
    Dagmara is Head of the Department and has many years of experience in all aspects of private client work. Dagmara’s strengths are working with families on very sensitive and emotive matters, providing them with specialist legal advice. She ensures clients are supported but also advised clearly and comprehensively on the legal issue(s) at hand so that they can make an informed decision.

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  • Jim McGarrity Partner
    Private Client Services 01908 689331
    Jim has over 30 years' experience in the law and now specialises in will, probate, trust and inheritance disputes and court of protection cases.

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  • Amye Aris Solicitor
    Private Client Services 01908 689317
    Amye is part of the Private Client Services Team and advises on all aspects of Private Client work in a range of matters relating to the administration of estates, Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Deputyship applications.  Amye also has residential property experience.

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  • Jenny MacDonald Paralegal
    Private Client Services 01908 689317
    Jenny is a Paralegal in the Private Client Services Department supporting Dagmara Kulczykowska in a range of matters relating to the administration of estates, Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Deputyship application.

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  • Oliver Kent Trainee Solicitor
    Private Client Services 01908 689302
    Oliver joined Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors in August 2015 as a Paralegal and was promoted to a Trainee Solicitor in May 2017. He holds a degree in Law and has recently completed a Master of Laws too. He will be admitted as a Solicitor on 1 May 2019. Oliver has experience of working with various departments but is now based within the Private Client Services department.

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