Do you have a Will? Do you need a Will?
When an individual dies without a Will (dies ‘intestate’), the law determines what happens to their money and their possessions. This happens whether the deceased person owned a huge estate, or whether they just leave a vehicle, some cash under the bed and the possessions in their home. Loved ones have no say in the matter.
We encourage you to make a Will so that you have peace of mind about what happens to your money, items of sentimental or family value, and who will look after any young children you may have.
To be valid, your Will must be in writing. It must be signed in front of, and then by, two independent witnesses. They should be people who are not named in your Will. When you die, your Executors must use this signed Will, so it is important to have it stored somewhere secure. We offer a secure document storage service.
Things to consider when preparing your Will
It’s not easy to think about the impact of your death on others, but it is important to make plans ahead of time to relieve the worry for your loved ones. Knowing your wishes enables them to carry out the required tasks without the stress of wondering what you would want them to do with your things, and helps to avoid family disputes too.
1. Executors: Choose two trusted friends or family members, as they are responsible for gathering together your assets, arranging a valuation, paying off your debts and then distributing the rest according to your instructions.. It is wise to consider whether you want to appoint someone who is your peer, or someone who is from a younger generation. Do ensure your Executors live in this country, if you can. It would be hard to carry out their role from overseas.
2. Children under 18: they are considered to be minors, and your Will should provide instructions for who should be appointed as their Guardian(s). You need to discuss this in advance with the persons you hope to appoint.
3. Charities: do you want to leave any charitable gifts in your Will? It is worth considering, especially where the value of your estate (including your property and possessions) adds up to more than £325,000.00. Everything over this amount will be taxed at 40% unless certain exemptions apply. When you leave money to charity, it is not subject to Inheritance Tax, and is deducted from your estate before tax is calculated. Therefore, a legacy to charity could bring the value of your estate under the £325,000.00 meaning no tax will be payable. We can discuss this with you in more detail.
4. Spouse: if you choose to leave your whole estate to your spouse, no Inheritance Tax will be payable. Your spouse will benefit from your tax free allowance when they pass away too, meaning they can leave double the value of assets before Inheritance Tax becomes payable. This does not apply to your partner if you are not married or not in a civil partnership.
5. Property: when considering what to do with your home, be aware that there is an additional tax free band available if you choose to leave your property (it must be/have been your main residence) to a direct descendant. The tax free band will be deducted from the value of your home when Inheritance Tax is calculated.
Single simple Will – £199
Pair of simple Mirror Wills – £299
Single Will including a Trust – £450
Pair of Mirror Wills including a Trust – £595
You should review your existing Will if:
You & your partner are not married/civil partners;
You have separated or divorced;
You have remarried