A will is a document which takes effect on death and in which you decide who can benefit from your Estate. Your Estate being everything that you own on death.

 

Many people think making a Will isn’t necessary or relevant to them personally. If you die without having made a Will the effects on your Estate and loved ones may be far from what you envisaged would happen. The Intestacy Rules will decide who can benefit from your Estate if you die without having made a valid Will. The strict application of these rules can leave many loved ones disappointed. Step children, close friends and partners who are not married or in a civil partnership will not benefit under these rules.

 

Anyone who is over 18 years of age and has full mental capacity can make a Will. In some circumstances it may be possible to draft a Will for someone who does not possess the requisite mental capacity, this is known as a statutory Will and is made via the Court of Protection.

 

When making a Will you must ensure it is drafted correctly and conforms to the legal requirements otherwise it will fail and your Beneficiaries will lose out. Below are just some of the important aspects to consider when making a Will:

 

  • Marriage and the affects on your existing Will and Estate

  • Divorce and the affects it can have on your existing Will and Estate

  • Disinheriting someone and the affects it can have on your Will and estate

  • Complex family circumstances and providing for them within your Will

  • Children under 18

  • Providing for a vulnerable and/or disabled Beneficiary

  • Considerations of long term care arrangements

  • The blended family – second marriages, children from previous marriages and step children

  • Family disputes

  • Tax

  • Expected windfalls in the future

  • Any gifts made within your lifetime

For more information please contact us or if you need help with any of the issues, even if it’s just to talk things through, then please don’t hesitate to contact us either by email, telephone or personal attendance. Where attending an office is difficult one of our team is more than happy to visit you at home.

 
 
 
 

Basic Wills

By choosing to make a Will you can specifically provide for your loved ones. If you die without having made a valid Will then the current law will operate a set of rules, known as the Intestacy Rules, to decide who will benefit from your estate.

Wills That Provide For The Vulnerable or Disabled

Sometimes a Will may require more than basic drafting as it needs to provide for more complex circumstances.

Statutory Wills

If you lack the mental capacity to make a Will then it may be possible for the
Court of Protection
to make a Will on your behalf.

Advance Directions or Living Wills

These terms are inter-changeable. An Advance Direction or Living Will is a document in which you can set out your wishes for your future care and medical treatment should you need it in the future and you lack the mental capacity at that time to enable you to give your own directions.

Wills and Care Home Issues

You may wish to consider how you can make provision within your will to protect your assets from being used to fund future care home fees.

Varying a Will And Redirecting Your Inheritance

It is possible for you as a beneficiary of a deceased’s estate to redirect your inheritance share by either altering the terms of the deceased’s Will or where the deceased died without a Will, by writing a posthumous or notional Will for the deceased.

Inheritance Tax

Planning ahead will give you the opportunity to make maximum use of the tax reliefs and exemptions that may be available to you for any Inheritance Tax liability you might have.

Making gifts

Small gifts may not be taken into account when calculating the Inheritance Tax liability on death. Currently gifts of £3000 and under can be made and these will fall within the annual exemption. Regular gifts out of income and other one off gifts for family marriages may also be made free of the Inheritance Tax radar.

Reducing your Inheritance Tax bill by giving to charity

From 6 April 2012 if you leave 10 per cent or more of your net Estate to a qualifying charity your Estate may qualify to pay Inheritance Tax at a reduced rate of 36 per cent.

Inheritance Tax reliefs

There are certain types of property that qualify for a full relief from Inheritance Tax or a discounted value for Inheritance Tax purposes.