Making Your Will
This is no longer the daunting task it used to be.
We have a personal and friendly approach and will explain to you, using plain English, how Wills can be used to make sure your estate goes to the people you wish, minimise Inheritance Tax and preserve assets.
We offer a full Will-writing and Estate Planning service and if your estate is more complicated, we will work closely alongside your accountant or financial adviser.
If, for example, you don’t want to add to your children’s existing Inheritance Tax problem, you could consider setting up a Discretionary Trust.
In addition, we can give you specialist advice on residential care charges and what you might do to mitigate their effects.
We also advise on Lasting Powers of Attorney, which can provide a lifeline in the event of failing health.
Why Do I Need a Will?
Our clients make their Wills for a variety of different reasons. Here are just some of them:
- Control the distribution of your Estate. If you don’t have a Will then the way that your assets and property will be distributed will be left up to the authorities (Laws of Intestacy 1925). Unsurprisingly not many people want this to happen as it may result in a number of problems – not least the fact that a surviving spouse may have to share their inheritance with other relatives. If you’re unmarried and don’t have a Will these Laws may also mean that your partner inherits nothing at all. If you’re single your money could actually end up going to the State.
- Appoint Guardians for your Children. A Will is one of the most practical ways of appointing Guardians for your children. In the case of a married couple, if you and your partner die without appointing Guardians then the Local Authorities will do this on your behalf. In cases where a couple is unmarried and have children born prior to 2003 it may actually mean that the father may not get automatic Parental Responsibility.
- Protecting your Wealth. One of the most popular reasons for arranging a Will is to ensure that your accumulated wealth is not wasted by beneficiaries or inherited by those you do not want to access your funds (e.g. on remarriage).
- Leave a Legacy to Charity. A Will provides you with the opportunity to benefit your favourite Charity (free of tax) by leaving a legacy.
- Look after a family pet. If you aren’t around your Will can help ensure that your much loved pet will be looked after.
- Set up Trusts. These can be established for the benefit of children to ensure that they do not inherit too early and waste money or assets you have given to them.
What About Those Packs That Cost £9.99 on The High Street?
Rumour has it that some solicitors make more money out of putting right incorrectly-compiled DIY Will Packs than they do out of writing normal Wills for their own clients. These packs are fine if you use them for relatively simple requirements and you follow the instructions carefully. If we had a penny for every client who has told us that they bought one but never got around to doing it…!
I’ve Seen an Advert Offering a Will Plus Home Visit for £19.99?
Every industry has its cowboys. Rather than pretend that they don’t exist we’d rather warn you about them as many people have been caught out by scams such as these and have ended up paying far in excess of £19.99.
Why Make a Will?
Decide Who Inherits Your Possessions, Property and Money
If you don’t have a Will the government decides this for you and it’s done according to some rather old rules called the Laws of Intestacy which were drawn up in the 1920s. This means that your spouse might end up sharing your wealth with your children or parents. It also almost certainly means that your partner may get nothing at all if you are unmarried.
By having a Will you can stipulate exactly how your Estate (all your possessions, assets etc) is distributed and in what proportions. What’s the point of accumulating it all over your lifetime, if someone else decides how it is given away? In doing this you might also avoid unnecessary arguments and squabbles between family members or relatives.
Appoint Guardians For Young Children
Nominating specific Guardians in your Will to look after young children is very important – and if you don’t, the authorities will do so on your behalf. This is unlikely to coincide with your own wishes and may be hugely upsetting and disruptive for your children.
It can also sometimes mean that a partner (if you are unmarried) does not automatically become Guardian to children, even though they may be the father.
Set Up Trusts for the Benefit of Children or to Protect Funds From Being Wasted
Setting up a Trust can have a number of significant benefits. Firstly it is a very good way to ensure that funds are not inherited by a beneficiary when they are too young to make best use of them. Basic terms can be put in place to prevent the beneficiary wasting the money or assets you have given them.
Establishing Trusts also allows you to make secure financial provision for mentally disabled or handicapped children.
Use Trusts to Your Advantage and to Help Future Inheritors
A major benefit of a professionally-drafted Will is the fact that it can ring-fence your Inheritance Tax (IHT) allowance for specific future beneficiaries, creating a Trust which will protect the assets should there be a need for long term care after the first person has died. On second death we can create a Trust allowing your beneficiaries to draw cash for school fees, first house purchase and much more. The benefit of holding the assets in Trust is that it ensures a large IHT bill doesn’t burden your future inheritors (e.g. grandchildren) while at the same time holding the assets in an accessible manner.