Why write a Will

Making a Will

Altering a Will

Inheritance Tax


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Why write a Will?

Although many people in Britain die without ever having made a Will there are several important reasons why it is makes sense to write a Will. 


Controlling what happens to your estate 

Most people spend a large proportion of their lives working to build their assets and provide for their families to the best of their abilities.  It therefore makes sense to ensure that after you die your assets are distributed according to your wishes. 

If you die without making a Will you are said to have died intestate and your estate will be distributed according to the Laws of Intestacy.  This could result in individuals who you would not have chosen receiving from your assets and those you would wish to benefit going without.  This can lead to disagreement and arguments among family members at what is already a very difficult and emotional time. 


Providing for family and friends 

Disappointment and conflict can often be avoided by clearly stating in the Will who is to receive which assets.  It is also a means to ensure that the correct people are provided for and looked after exactly according to your wishes. 

If there is a possibility you may leave children under 18 years of age, the choice of guardian should be include in the Will. This may be particularly relevant for single parents as a spouse will automatically have guardianship until children reach 18 years of age.

 There is also the possibility of setting up a Trust in the Will.  A Trust is a legal arrangement which can be useful in many different circumstances for example, money and land can be held in trust until minors come of age.  


Planning a tax reduction strategy

Any estate worth more than 312,000 (2008-2009 threshold) may be liable for Inheritance Tax. Inheritance Tax (IHT) is charged at 40%. 

Funeral expenses and debts are deducted before IHT is calculated.  

 There are a certain exemptions which allow you to pass on amounts (during your lifetime or in your will) without any Inheritance Tax being due.  Examples of exempt transfers are those between spouses, gifts to charities and political parties, and small gifts to individuals of up to 250. 

It is also possible to claim exemption on certain Business assets and agricultural land.  Being aware of the exemptions and legal loop holes enables you to channel your money where you would most like it to go and save on Inheritance Tax.


Choosing your Executors

It is possible to name up to four Executors in the Will to administer the terms of the Will and act as your representatives after death.  Failure to do so would mean the court has the right to appoint a person to administer your estate. This would normally be a close family member though not necessarily the one of your choice.


Expressing your wishes regarding the funeral 

Particular instructions regarding your funeral can be included in the Will, for example whether you would prefer to be buried or cremated and what type of service you would like. 


Achieving peace of mind 

Knowing that you have prepared your Will can put your mind at rest as you have made things as easy as possible for those left behind.


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