What is a Will?
A Will is a document which sets out who will receive your assets when you die.
It also allows you to appoint executors who will be responsible for dealing with your estate and making sure your beneficiaries receive their inheritance.
Why is it important to make a Will?
To protect your family
If you do not have a Will then your estate will pass under the rules of intestacy which are set out in legislation. These rules provide for the estate to pass to certain blood relatives in a particular order, so who inherits will depend on who survives you.
The intestacy rules make no provision for unmarried partners so they will receive nothing from your estate if you do not have a Will.
To look after your children
If you have minor children, you can appoint guardians in your Will who will look after your children in the event of your death. A testamentary guardian appointed in a Will acquires parental responsibility for the child and therefore a legal ability to have a say about the child’s long term care and upbringing.
To protect vulnerable beneficiaries
If you wish to leave money on your death to someone who is vulnerable, such as a child with learning difficulties, who may not be able to manage the money themselves, then you can use trusts, such as discretionary trusts, in your Will to protect them. You can appoint trustees who will be responsible for looking after the money on their behalf and ensuring it is used sensibly to provide your beneficiaries with the best benefit. Using certain types of trust may help vulnerable beneficiaries preserve any means tested benefits they receive, whilst also allowing them to derive a further benefit from the trust.
To protect your assets from care fees
Careful planning in your Will can allow you to use trusts, such as life interest trusts, to ring fence your assets. This can allow couples to protect part of their estate from future care fees and ensure that there is some inheritance available to pass down to your children.
To plan for tax
Proper structuring in your Will can help to reduce the amount of inheritance tax payable on your death by ensuring you maximise all your available allowances and reliefs.
Many married couples assume their estates will pass to each other on death, even without a Will, but this is not always the case. If the value of the assets is over a certain amount, then a portion of the estate may pass directly to the children. In some situations, this may give rise to an unexpected inheritance tax liability on the first death.
Why is it important to keep your Will up to date?
Once you have made a Will it is vital that you review it every now and again and make sure it is up to date.
The act of marriage automatically revokes a Will if it is not drafted in a particular way, so if you are planning to marry you should always take advice on your Will before the wedding to ensure there is no time period during which you are not covered by a valid Will.
If there is any change to your situation, personal or financial, it is important to review your Will and check it is still appropriate for your circumstances.
How can we help?
Our specialist solicitors are experts in the drafting of all types of Wills and can advise you on the most appropriate structure for your Will.
All of our Wills are prepared bespoke so that they meet your particular requirements and ensure your beneficiaries are provided for in the most appropriate and tax efficient way possible.
If you would like advice on your Will please download and complete our Will Questionnaire. Once the Questionnaire is returned to us one of our solicitors will review your information and contact you to advise you further.
Contact our specialist will writing solicitors
HOW CAN WE HELP?
FROM THE BLOG
“From the very first contact with Sumaiya, I felt confident she was the right person to help us prepare our wills. At our first meeting she explained our options clearly and professionally answering all our questions and providing all the information we needed to make a decision on the best way to proceed. Subsequent communication was clear and timely, and she helped make the whole process very easy for us. We would have no hesitation in contacting Sumaiya for any future matters or recommending her to friends or family”
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