If you don’t, your property might end up with people whom you don’t wish to benefit. A Will is the only way of ensuring that your loved ones inherit what you want them to have.
A Will is advisable for many reasons:-
If you die without a Will, rules known as the ‘Intestacy Rules” apply to distribute your assets when you die. These rules in general pass assets on to your closest family but this may not be what you want, particularly if you have been married more than once, you are cohabiting or you have children from different relationships. Under the “Intestacy Rules” a spouse does not automatically inherit everything on death.
Appoint Guardians / Executors
In a Will it is possible to appoint Guardians to bring up your minor children after your death, and to appoint Executors to deal with the administration of your affairs after you have died. These can be family or close friends. If your affairs are complex, you might wish to appoint a solicitor to be an Executor either on his own or together with a friend or family member. If a child is left money in a Will, an Executor is often a trustee of that money until the child reaches the age mentioned in the Will.
Avoid / Mitigate Tax
Inheritance Tax applies to the value of your estate on death. Currently everything given to a spouse or charity is exempt but otherwise the balance of your estate above the Nil Rate Sum (£325,000 for deaths on or after 6 April 2009) is taxed at 40%. It is also possible to use up any unused Nil Rate Sum from a deceased spouse’s estate in addition. Remember, your estate includes your house. There are many ways to reduce the effects of Inheritance Tax both in a Will and by lifetime gifts. If Inheritance Tax might be a problem, there is no substitute for obtaining professional legal advice on a regular basis to keep up to date with changes in tax legislation.
A Will enables you to leave a gift to your favourite charity. This can be either a fixed amount or a share of your estate. Charities are usually pleased to discuss this with you.
Peace of Mind
You can be satisfied that your financial affairs are in order making it easier for relatives to cope. A properly drafted Will should reduce the chance of argument about your estate after death. Remember to tell your family where the original signed Will (not a draft or copy) is kept.
For further information about making a will or other elderly client services, please call 033 3344 9606 or 033 3344 9616 and ask for our Wills and Probate team.