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Stratford-upon-Avon

13 The Courtyard
Timothy's Bridge Road
Stratford-Upon-Avon
Warwickshire CV37 9NP

01789 294484

enquiries@gjassociates.co.uk

London

7-8 Stratford Place
Mayfair
London
W1C 1AY

0207 495 0304

enquiries@gjassociates.co.uk

In the world of business, securing your future is a must. Without a solid estate plan, you’re leaving a lot to chance – which can significantly impact your efforts. Grenfell James has gone the extra mile from numbers to offering essential estate planning services. We caught up with Kerry Murphy, Trust & Estate Practitioner at GJ Estate Planning, to get the scoop on how she’s making sure every client receives a personalised plan that truly fits.


Tell us about your background. What drew you to specialise in this area?

My professional journey began at a respected probate provider, where I gained deep insights into the repercussions of incomplete estate planning. I’ve seen the aftermath of people passing without wills or with errors in their wills, often leading to further legal actions and unnecessary complexities.

But the impact goes beyond finances. Poorly crafted wills can trigger estate disputes, leading to costly legal battles and probate delays. With 17 years of experience in the private client sector, I’ve developed the expertise to navigate these challenges.

I’ve covered various areas within the private client sector, including will writing and estate planning, estate administration and probate, trust administration and taxation and LPAs. I hold the distinction of being a Chartered Legal Executive and a Full Member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

What drives the Wills and Estate Planning team’s success?

Our vision centres around creating a team that excels not only in technical expertise but also in compassion, innovation, and a sincere dedication to enhancing the lives of our clients and their families through strategic, holistic estate planning solutions.

How do you make estate planning a comfortable journey for clients?

Family dynamics can be complicated; I have seen and heard it all! Our conversations are strictly confidential and judgment-free. As a trusted accountancy partner to many – we’re already well-acquainted with their financial aspirations. So, we focus on turning estate planning into a smooth, stress-free chat.

We dive into each client’s unique estate, crafting tailored and comprehensive plans. With personalised consultations and a deep understanding of their needs, we design strategies that fit their situations, desires, and worries. Starting with addressing death planning, we seamlessly move on to inheritance tax planning in the following stages.

Estate Planning should be a top priority for business owners. Neglecting this critical aspect can have far-reaching consequences for your business and your loved ones. Using an independent third party like GJ Estate Planning can also help smooth conversations around succession planning.

Tell us about your progressive approach to estate planning.

We’ve integrated the latest legal software for will writing into our workflow. This streamlined approach enhances efficiency and allows us to provide meticulously crafted wills that cater to your specific needs. This technology is a game-changer in an industry that sometimes relies on outdated methods, ensuring our clients a modern, customised experience. At GJ Estate Planning, making a will is simple. We equip you with everything you need to know to make a will.

How do you stay in the loop with legal and industry updates?

I meet annual Continuing Professional Development criteria – a requirement for maintaining my qualifications and memberships. Staying in the know about estate planning’s latest laws and trends isn’t just crucial; meeting those CPD goals is mandatory. Gaining this knowledge isn’t just for me. I can pass it on to the team so they can continually refine their skills, find innovative solutions, and serve top-tier advice and strategies for clients.

It’s a bit of a wild west out there regarding will writing. Not everyone’s qualified or experienced enough to give out estate planning advice. But at GJ Estate Planning, we’ve got that covered. We are proud members of the Best Foundation – accredited will writers, estate planners and probate practitioners.

How do you inform clients about estate planning and available options?

We start with a free will review and chat to understand their needs – like bloodline planning, asset protection, or inheritance tax.

We’ve also got transparent fixed fees for our documents. Basic wills are simple but might not cover everything. We’re here to protect what they’ve worked hard to achieve. And remember, every will is unique, based on individual needs and assets.

Give us some examples of how you positively impact your client’s lives.

Recently, we guided a client to employ a Deed of Variation. The result? Her late husband’s estate qualified for the residential nil rate band, a golden opportunity that wouldn’t have been there on her passing due to exceeding the thresholds. We saved her around £70k in Inheritance Tax (IHT). Now that’s a success story!

Often, clients worrying about paying more in IHT than they should is a common concern. While we can’t erase IHT, we ensure they claim every possible relief. Second marriages also bring extra considerations. Many parents worry about their children possibly missing out if their surviving spouse or civil partner were to remarry. Second marriages can also bring additional complexities and post-death disputes. It can all turn into a costly courtroom saga, heightened by the emotions of grief. We’re here to simplify things and ensure your loved ones are protected.

What makes GJ Estate Planning stand out in the estate planning industry?

Our personal and progressive approach to making a will and crafting personalised estate plans is at the heart of our initiatives. We’re not just about ticking boxes but empowering individuals to secure their legacies effectively.

Workshops are on our radar, creating a space to connect and share insights. An open-door policy for all client queries is paramount. It’s all about making estate planning accessible and empowering everyone while maintaining our commitment to service excellence.


Kerry Murphy is the Trusts & Estates Practioner at GJ Estate Planning. For advice and support in making a will or estate planning, call Kerry on 07833 207913 or contact the team at 01789 294 484. Please also feel free to connect with Kerry on LinkedIn.

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Succession planning is the cornerstone of securing the future of your business. As a visionary business owner, you’ve poured your heart and soul into building your enterprise, and now it’s time to protect its continuity and success proactively. Join us as we delve into estate planning, wills and succession to help you make your wishes clear and protect your business, wealth and the future of your loved ones.

Why do I need an estate plan, will and succession plan?

When protecting your legacy, estate planning, making a will, and succession planning form a powerful team. Together, they ensure a well-organised strategy for managing your assets, dealing with taxes, and securing the success of your personal and business affairs. This integrated approach safeguards your legacy, ensuring your wishes are carried out seamlessly. Let’s take a look in detail at each element:

Why does succession planning matter for your business?

Succession planning matters for your business because it seamlessly transfers leadership and responsibilities. Importantly, it maintains business continuity, minimises risks associated with unexpected departures and develops a strong leadership pipeline. Additionally, the process preserves corporate culture and knowledge, boosts employee morale, attracts top talent, and demonstrates preparedness to stakeholders. Ultimately, it enhances long-term financial stability. It confidently empowers your business to navigate future challenges, safeguarding your vision and values for sustained success.

70% of family-owned businesses fail to transition successfully to the next generation.

– Source: Family Business UK

The next step is crafting a detailed succession plan outlining roles, responsibilities, and timelines. You should engage current leaders, ensuring their commitment to the plan. Communicate openly with potential successors, addressing their aspirations and career paths.

Finally, implement the plan, monitor its progress, and adjust as needed. Regularly review and update the plan to adapt to changing circumstances. Consider external talent if required, and document the plan for accessibility and transparency. These strategic steps will pave the way for a seamless leadership transition and long-term success for your business.

Who should be involved in your succession planning?

The process involves a network of critical stakeholders, each playing a crucial role in shaping its success. Engage your current leadership team and human resources professionals to ensure expertise and alignment with strategic goals. Involving potential successors fosters open communication and aligns their aspirations with the company’s vision. Seek guidance from your board of directors or advisory board to ensure strategic alignment.

55% of family businesses worldwide do not have a formal succession plan.

– Source: PwC

While talking to family members about this sensitive matter can be challenging, their involvement is vital for family-owned businesses. External consultants and legal/financial advisors bring valuable perspectives and expertise, objectively supporting the process and facilitating difficult conversations. By embracing the collective wisdom of these stakeholders, you can forge a resilient succession plan that secures your business’s legacy and nurtures its growth into the future.

When is the right time to start succession planning?

The right time to start succession planning is now. Don’t wait for uncertainties to arise; be proactive and empower your business’s future. Early planning ensures a smooth leadership transition, whether you’re a small business owner or leading a large enterprise.

Prepare your successors, develop a strong leadership pipeline, and instil confidence in your team. Embrace the present moment to secure a thriving future for your business, leaving a lasting legacy that withstands the test of time.


As a passionate business owner, your legacy deserves the utmost care and foresight. Succession planning is not merely a business practice; it’s a testament to your dedication to your business, employees, and loved ones. By embracing the power of estate planning and succession planning, you can empower your business to thrive for generations to come.

Take the first step towards securing your legacy by exploring the art of succession planning today. Contact our dedicated team, GJ Estate Planning, at 01789 294 484 to discuss your business’s unique needs. Together let’s craft a tailor-made strategy for your business’s continued success.

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As a business owner, you wear many hats and juggle countless responsibilities. Amidst the daily business demands, it’s easy to put estate planning on the back burner. However, neglecting this critical aspect can have far-reaching consequences for your business and your loved ones. Join us as we examine the importance of estate planning for business owners and explore why it should never be postponed.

What is estate planning, and why does it matter for business owners?


Estate planning involves distributing assets, addressing tax implications, and safeguarding loved ones’ financial futures. For business owners, this goes beyond personal considerations, preserving the continuity and success of your business beyond your involvement.

What happens if business owners delay estate planning?

Delaying the process can lead to uncertainty and potential disputes in the future. Without a clear plan, your business may face legal challenges, leaving your loved ones with unnecessary stress and financial burdens. Taking proactive steps now can ensure a smooth transition and avoid unintended consequences.

How can planning for your succession benefit the business?

Planning for your succession offers numerous benefits for your business. These benefits may include seamless operation in your absence, protecting assets from potential creditors, and minimising tax liabilities. A well-crafted estate plan can secure your family’s financial well-being and provide for their future needs.

What steps should business owners take to protect their legacy?

Start by taking inventory of assets, including the business, and identifying key individuals for its future. Consult with experienced professionals, like GJ Estate Planning, to tailor your business plan and help make a will.

New research has found that 54% of UK adults don’t have a will, and 5.4m people have no idea how to make one.

– Source: Which.co.uk

Why should business owners act sooner than later?

Time is of the essence in estate planning. Unexpected events can happen, and procrastination may lead to missed opportunities to protect your business and your loved ones. Moreover, acting sooner rather gives you peace of mind. You can secure your legacy and protect what matters most by taking action promptly.

You have dedicated your time and energy to building a successful enterprise as a business owner. Don’t let planning your business legacy take a backseat. It is crucial to preserve your business legacy and protect your family’s financial future.

GJ Estate Planning empowers business owners to create a robust and comprehensive estate plan. Take the first step by calling us at 01789 294 484 to discuss your business’s unique needs. Let’s secure your business legacy and ensure a prosperous future for your loved ones.

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Death is an undeniable fact of life; nevertheless, it is still a topic we often struggle to discuss. However, planning for it is essential. By taking the necessary steps, you can ensure peace of mind about the security of your wealth and the inheritance of your loved ones. Join us as we delve into everything you need to know about making a will.

What is a will, and why is it essential to make one? 

Making a will tells people how you want your money and assets shared after death. It is essential to make a will to ensure your loved ones benefit entirely from the inheritance you want them to receive.  

You should make a will to give financial and emotional security to those closest to you upon your death. If you do not make a will, authorities may take minor children into Care while appointing guardians.

There is one death every 51 seconds in the UK.

– source: United Kingdom Population Clock

Writing a will offers you and your family peace of mind. It alleviates the pressure of “doing what is right” by you during these challenging times. 

Critically, it is never too early, but it is often too late to Make a will! 

Who can make a Will, and what considerations must they consider?

By planning your estate, you can leave it to whomever you want upon your death. To do this, you must make a will.  

You are classified as a ‘Testator’ if you make a will. You must have the legal and mental ability to make or alter a valid will (Testamentary Capacity).  

When you make a will, you must consider the following: 

When you make a will, you should set out the following: 

You can also include a charity in your will

How do I make a will legal?

To make a will legally, you must fulfil several requirements.

You and your witnesses must sign the same document.  

Both of your witnesses must see you and the act of signing. You can ask someone to sign on your behalf if you cannot do it.  

When your witnesses sign your will, you must have a clear view of them and the act of signing. Your witnesses do not need to sign it at the same time as each other. 

You cannot leave your witnesses (or their married partners) anything in your will.

You must follow the same signing and witnessing process if you change your will. In England or Wales, you can sign a will remotely (for example, by video conferencing). 

When do I need to seek legal advice? 

It is best to seek professional advice before you make a will. If your will is not straightforward, you must seek professional advice to protect your wealth and legacy. These scenarios may include:

What happens if my will is lost? 

If the original copy of the will cannot be found after your death, the authorities will presume that you have revoked it by destruction. As a result, it is then for those ‘seeking’ to prove the will to dispute that presumption.  

If you lose your will, unintended Beneficiaries may inherit your estate under the rules of Intestacy.  

Where should I store my will? 

You must keep your will safe; the original will is the only will. However, you should never keep an original will at home! If you store your will at home, it could suffer damage in various ways, such as through a fire, flood, or burglary, which may lead to its potential invalidation.

Your Solicitor or Will writer may store your will for you at their offices. Equally, the National Will Safe Document Storage facility is a unique national, central storage facility for wills and is a secure way of caring for your important legal documents. 

Who inherits my estate if I do not make a will? 

If you die without making a will, the division of your estate will follow strict ‘Intestacy’ rules. These rules grant inheritance or estate claims only to individuals who are married to Civil Partners or close relatives of the deceased.

You cannot be sure those you wish to benefit will If you do not make a will. Your spouse or civil partner will not automatically inherit ALL of your estate. Plus, ‘Common Law’ partners may not receive anything if you do not make a will.  

One in two (50%) UK adults don’t have a will.

source IFA Magazine. 

They will need legal advice to figure out your estate’s net value and who will inherit what. Authorities could take minor children into Care while appointing guardians. Not legally expressing your wishes could mean lengthy delays for your Beneficiaries and disputes. You cannot prevent certain family members from benefiting if you do not make a will. You cannot leave something to friends, colleagues or charities that fall outside the rules of Intestacy (leaving a valid will). 

Is a will the most tax-efficient way of distributing my estate? 

No. A basic will is not necessarily the most Tax efficient way of distributing your estate. It is only suitable in limited circumstances. A more detailed will allow you to consider all or some of the following provisions:  

How can a Trust protect my assets?

Instead of leaving assets to specific individuals, it is possible to leave assets to one (or more) Trusts. The Trust(s) would hold the assets on behalf of the individuals you choose so that it offers some protection rather than if the assets belonged to the individuals. Trusts have the added benefit of being Tax efficient and can reduce Inheritance Tax for future generations.  

Who can help me make a will? 

You can make your own will, but you must ensure its validity by signing and witnessing it correctly. At Grenfell James, our trusted experts can help with your estate planning needs and support you in making a will. To ensure your loved ones benefit entirely from the inheritance you want them to receive, call us today at 01789 294 484.   

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You work hard for the lifestyle you want. Therefore it is natural to want to protect your assets for the benefit of your loved ones. Estate planning and writing a will can help protect your wealth and the inheritance of your loved ones. Join us as we look at estate planning, bloodline planning and writing a will to ensure your loved ones benefit entirely from the inheritance you want them to receive.

What is estate planning?

Estate planning is arranging your assets to protect loved ones and honour your wishes. With wills, trusts, and designations, you stay in control. Small business owners and families need to plan and ease burdens. You must seek expert guidance to safeguard your legacy.

How do estate planning and making a will differ?

Estate planning and making a will can help protect your wealth, but they are different.

Estate planning will help you to decide how best to protect and pass on your wealth to your loved ones. An estate plan is a broader plan of action for your assets that may apply during your life and after your death. Estate planning is more than being sensible with your finances. It is about giving you peace of mind.

Making a will lets people know how you want your money and assets shared after death. So, while a will is often part of an estate plan, an estate plan is more comprehensive.

Seeking professional advice is essential if you’re thinking about making a will or creating an estate plan.

What is involved with estate planning?

Estate planning empowers you to protect your assets, secure your loved one’s future, and ensure your wishes are respected. Seeking professional advice can help you to plan wisely and build a legacy that brings peace of mind.

Key components include:

When should I make an estate plan?

Estate planning during your lifetime can be highly Tax efficient regarding Inheritance Tax. You can Gift assets to Beneficiaries before your death. Giving to Beneficiaries in this way means assets are entirely outside the Donor’s estate seven years after the Gift.

However, rather than gifting assets absolutely, it is wise to consider giving with the aid of Discretionally Trusts. Gifting assets “absolutely” means they are potentially at risk from Divorce, Creditors and long-term care costs. In addition, these Gifts would add value to the recipient’s estate, increasing your beneficiary’s inheritance tax liability on death.

A Discretionary Gift Trust means that, although you make a Gift to your children and grandchildren, the asset need not enter their estate. Ultimately, this means you can protect these assets from any possible future claims on them in the future.

How can I protect my children’s inheritance?

Bloodline planning is a way to protect an estate down the Bloodline. It will ensure that your assets reach your children, grandchildren and relatives rather than end up in the wrong hands!

You can lose so much when you give directly to Beneficiaries because these Gifts are considered part of the Beneficiary’s estate. As such, assets not protected by a Trust face attack from Divorce Settlements, Creditors and Taxation.

Without the correct Bloodline Planning:

Assets not protected by a Trust face attack from:

Have you considered what might happen if your surviving spouse were to remarry? How would this affect your children if they later changed their will to favour the new spouse and the children they share? Or, if you have children from a previous marriage, how do you ensure they would get their fair share? What if your children are very young and have special needs? How can you ensure that they receive adequate care and support?

There may also be a business you have worked hard to build up. Surely you would want to protect this for your family too?

How do I protect who has access to my assets?

We recommend holding your assets in Trust. Specifically, a discretionary Trust called a Probate Trust. While still protecting assets from the attack of Care Costs, it also allows the Settlor access to the assets held in Trust. The Trust has a memorandum of wishes where the Setlor is also a beneficiary. The purpose of the Trust is for Bloodline planning, not Tax Planning. The transfer of assets by the Settlor is classified as a ‘Gift With Reservation of Benefit’ (GWR).

How can Trusts help with Bloodline planning?

Your children’s and grandchildren’s inheritance can be at risk for several issues. Taxation is one, but issues like Care Costs can also impact legacy. Having to pay Care Costs can significantly erode the value of an estate. Family homes may have been sold, and income and investments drained, seriously reducing any subsequent inheritance. Trusts can also protect your assets from family circumstances which may become a concern.

There are two potential scenarios where planning can be done with Trusts:

You can use a range of Trusts and a will to protect your hard-earned assets and loved ones. The planning type depends on individual requirements and the value of the estate.

Who can help me with estate planning?

You can do a certain amount of estate planning yourself. Equally, resources are online for you to write up your own will. However, to be sure you’ve covered the essentials, it’s best to get help from a professional. You work hard for the lifestyle you want. Don’t leave things to chance.

Estate planning guidance requires deep understanding and extensive experience to ensure your situation fits into personalised solutions. Ensuring your chosen Estate Planning Consultant is qualified and provides reliable service is key to aligning your estate planning with your needs.

Creating wills and planning estates happen in a space without strict regulations. Ensuring your consultant is open about their qualifications and background is important. Ask about your Consultant’s legal qualifications and experience. Check if your Consultant is connected with respected organisations that follow codes of conduct, showing professionalism and ethical service. Examples are STEP and BEST Foundation.

What happens if you don’t plan your estate?

If you don’t have a will when you pass away or become incapacitated, your estate will be divided according to Intestacy laws. This means you lose control over how your assets are distributed. Plan to protect your wishes and ensure your estate is handled according to your choices.


At Grenfell James, our trusted experts can help with your estate planning needs and make a will. To ensure your loved ones benefit entirely from the inheritance you want them to receive, call us today at 01789 294 484. Planning for your estate is never too early but often too late.

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Grenfell James Technology Adoption Index

How does your business perform against others adopting financial tech? Find out with our interactive diagnostic:

1.

How does your business receive invoices?

A)

Invoices are mainly received in paper form

B)

Invoices are mainly received by email

C)

Invoices are emailed then automatically forwarded to a designated mailbox

2.

How are purchase invoices processed?

A)

Invoices are entered manually

B)

Invoices are attached to manually raised invoices

C)

Automated software (e.g. ReceiptBank, 1Tap, HubDoc etc) collates invoices

3.

How are accounts processed?

A)

Using Excel/paper-based

B)

Using Computer-based, offline software

C)

Using cloud-based accountancy software

4.

How often is business data revised?

A)

Data is updated annually

B)

Data is updated quarterly

C)

Data is updated monthly or more often

5.

How is banking updated for your business?

A)

Banking is updated manually

B)

Banking is updated by imports

C)

Banking is updated via a live feed

6.

How are bank payments made?

A)

Bank payments are manual

B)

Bank payments are made using bulk imports

C)

Bank payments are made directly via accounting software

7.

How are bank receipts reconciled?

A)

Receipts are chased and reconciled manually

B)

Receipts are chased and reconciled automatically

C)

A third-party platform is used to chase debts and collect fees

8.

How often are management reports produced?

A)

No reports are provided

B)

Reports are provided but often too late to be valuable

C)

Reports are automated with real-time information

Score 8-12:

Curious Exploration

Your financial technology phase is Curious Exploration

% of respondent businesses are in this phase too.

Switching accountancy systems may seem like an upheaval, but can be much more straightforward than most businesses imagine. From talking to our clients, they have found moving from paper invoicing and desktop-based accounting software to the cloud and apps quickly makes the transition process a worthwhile investment of time. Digital accounting solutions bring in streamlined processes, up-to-date business data and greater confidence in the accuracy of information when making financial decisions.

Grenfell James works with your team to fully assess the needs of your business and minimise the impact of any transitions for solutions we recommend.

Find out more about App Advisory

More

Score 13-19:

Measured Discovery

Your financial technology phase is Measured Discovery

% of respondent businesses are in this phase too.

Once cloud accountancy software is in place, there’s still plenty of scope to improve your accountancy processes and make sure your business is maximising the benefits of adopting a digital accounting solution. Grenfell James assesses each business to understand how any implemented solutions are being used, identify areas for improvement and the needs of the business overall to support your business goals and achieve success.

Our team of experts can discuss a range of time-saving automation and get different apps and cloud-based solutions talking to create and manage a digital accountancy eco-system to help your business grow.

Find out more about App Advisory

More

Score 20-24:

Bold Innovation

Your financial technology phase is Bold Innovation

% of respondent businesses are in this phase too.

You know the benefits of accounting technology and the impact it can have on your business goals. If you want to take it a step further, our team can conduct a systematic review of your processes, apps and business goals to ensure your digital accountancy ecosystem is keeping pace with the changing needs of a growing business.