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Wills

 
 
 

Why make a will

  • To avoid dying intestate (without a will) where the State dictates who will inherit your property
  • To protect your spouse or partner
  • To protect your children
  • To leave gifts of items or money to friends and family or to a favourite charity
  • To ensure that family heirlooms will pass to someone who will keep them in the family and pass them on in turn
  • To minimise Inheritance tax (“IHT”) payable on your death
  • To appoint executors to deal with your affairs on your death
  • If you are self employed, to ensure that your executors can deal with your business after your death

Intestacy

  • Only about 3 in every 10 people have made a will.
  • Those people who die without having made a will are said to be “intestate”
  • Without a will, your estate would be shared out following the laws of intestacy (see guidelines) which often would not reflect your wishes or expectations and can be very complicated.
  • If you have a partner but are not married (or in a Civil Partnership), under the intestacy rules they do not have a right to inherit anything.

Protecting your partner

  • By naming your partner as the sole or main beneficiary in your will, you can be sure that they will be protected and will not be worried by uncertainty and possible financial difficulty.

Protecting your children

  • One of the most important decisions to make in your will is appointing a legal guardian for your children who are under the age of eighteen.  By recording your wishes, you give those left behind clear and legal instructions as to your wishes for your children’s wishes.
  • In the case of disabled children, you can ensure that any financial provision you make for them will be done in the most efficient way and will not impact their care or benefits in a negative way.

Gifts for relatives and friends

  • You can leave specific gifts of items or money to friends and relatives or, from the other point of view, you can ensure that certain people do not benefit from your will (who may be entitled to inherit under the laws of intestacy).

Donation to charity

  • 75% of the British public support a charity during their lifetime but only around 7% include a donation to their favourite cause in their will.  We encourage people to consider whether they would like to leave a charitable donation of any size in their will and can assist you in wording the gift in the most appropriate way.
  • Charitable legacies are exempt from Inheritance Tax and, if 10% or more of the value of the estate is donated to charity the Inheritance Tax rate is reduced from 40% to 36%.
  • For further information, please visit www.rememberacharity.org.uk

 

Family heirlooms

  • You can leave items of importance to your family to someone who will treasure them and pass them on to the next generation in due course.

Residence Nil-Rate Band

  • Introduced in April 2017 and increasing annually until April 2020 (to a maximum of £175,000) the Residence Nil-Rate Band (“RNRB”) will allow you to pass your family home (or your share of it) to your direct descendants (e.g. children or grandchildren) without it forming part of your taxable estate. If your home (or your share of it) is worth more than the RNRB then the balance of the value may still form part of your taxable estate. There are a number of complexities involved in the RNRB so for more information please contact us.

Transferrable Nil-Rate Band

  • It is now possible for married couples and civil partners to benefit from a joint nil-rate band of £650,000.  This means that any unused part of the nil-rate band of the first spouse to die can be transferred and used in the estate of the second spouse.  In many cases this means that complicated trusts are no longer required.

Minimising inheritance tax

  • Where the transferrable nil-rate band cannot be used or is insufficient, it is possible to reduce the amount of inheritance tax payable on your death with careful planning and drafting of your will.

If you are self employed

  • In your will you can give your Executors powers to continue your business either with a view to selling it, winding it up or continuing it (possibly for the benefit of your spouse or partner). We would normally advise that you give your Executors wide powers to deal with
    your business and sometimes it is
    wise to appoint an additional "business" executor.

Executors

  • You can name family members, good friends or a professional person, such as your solicitor. In more complex wills or where there is a possibility of friction it is usually advisable to have at least one professional executor. It is a good idea to mention to your chosen executors that you would like them to act and to check that they have no objections.



 

What would we need to know in order to draft your will?

  • An idea of everything you own, including property, car, money in the bank, stocks and shares, jewellery etc.
  • Details of who gets what. Who do you want to leave your property and effects to? Have you got any special gifts or special requests?
  • Details of your personal situation. Are you married, living with a partner, separated, divorced? Do you have children or other dependents?
  • Do you have children who could be under the age of 18 when you die? If so, do you want to appoint a
    legal guardian?
  • You may wish to leave instructions regarding funeral arrangements or
    organ donation?
  • You need to name an executor or executors of your will. These are the people who will put into effect the terms of your will after your death.

What happens after your will has been drafted?

  • After your will has been drafted and agreed by you it is necessary for you to sign it. Until is has been signed it is not effective. There are technical rules governing the signature of wills so it is important that the will is signed properly and the easiest thing is for you to come into our offices to do this. We can then provide independent witnesses and ensure that the will is signed in the
    right place.

After the will has been signed, what then?

  • Your will needs to be kept safely.  We can do this for you and we make no charge for this service.  We will also provide you with a copy of the completed will for you to place with your records at home.  It is probably a good idea to let your executors or a family member know where your will is kept.

National Wills Database

  • We are members of the National Wills Database (www.nationalwillregister.co.uk) which has been set up to safeguard the location of your original will.  By placing certain details of your will on the Database you are ensuring that your will cannot be mislaid or overlooked.  No details of the contents of your will are included and members of the public cannot obtain details of your will from the website.
  • We offer free registration of your will as part of our fee (although registration is not compulsory).  Registration would normally cost £30.

How do you keep your will up to date?

  • You should review your will at least every five years and after any major life change such as getting separated, married or divorced, having a child or moving house.  It is best to deal with any major changes by getting a new will drawn up.  But it is also possible to make minor changes (or ‘codicils’) to your existing will.  In both cases it is best to consult us.

Please contact us with your requirements and we will discuss how we are able to
help you.