Where there’s a Will…
Making a Will is a task most people don’t look forward to doing and it often drops to the bottom of their ‘to do’ list. At Wolferstans we make the process of making a Will as friendly and straight forward as possible.
There are two main parts to a Will: who is going to sort everything out (‘your executors’) and who is going to receive your estate, or a share in it, when you die (‘your beneficiaries’).
You should fully trust your chosen executors and they must be at least 18 years old. If you are appointing more than one executor, will they work well together? Are they capable of doing the job? Are they likely to fall out? Do you want to burden your loved ones with the task of applying for Probate and administering your estate when you die? You might therefore consider appointing a professional executor such as your solicitor to do it for you. The advantages in appointing a solicitor include them being able to apply for the Grant of Probate more efficiently and ensure that all the tax reliefs due to the estate are claimed. A solicitor is often appointed as an impartial person to act alongside family members or friends. Many people believe that if you are an executor then you cannot be a beneficiary also – this is untrue.
Deciding how to distribute your estate when you die can be a difficult decision for many. Do you wish to leave a gift to charity? There might be a charity which has helped either you or your family during your lifetime? – a gift to charity is not subject to inheritance tax and can help reduce the size of any inheritance tax bill. Do you wish to make a monetary gift to someone i.e. £500 to a niece or nephew? Do you wish to leave a specific piece of art or jewellery to someone? If you no longer own that specific item when you die then the gift fails.
Are you making provision for everyone you should in your Will? We will advise on potential claims that could be brought against your estate, either by family members or dependants.
‘The residue’ – once the deceased’s debts, expenses and the gifts contained within the Will have been settled then the balance is often known as the ‘residue’. Is the residue going pass to your husband, wife or civil partner outright or into trust? If it passes outright and the survivor meets a new partner or remarries then the inherited assets could end up in the hands of the new partner/spouse or their family. Trusts are good for retaining control of your assets.
If you have children and grandchildren at what age would you like them to be before they inherit? Do you have a child or grandchild who is disabled? If so then we can advise you on what type of trust would be best to hold their inheritance. It might not be in the best interests of your child or grandchild to receive their inheritance at a set age. Instead it is held on trust so that the trustees decide when they seem sensible enough to receive their inheritance. This will also give the beneficiary incentive to study and work hard (and not spend all of their inheritance on fast cars and lavish parties!). We provide tailored advice on what sort of trust would be best for you and your family looking at your individual needs and the tax implications. We also provide inheritance tax advice.
Do you own foreign assets, for instance a villa in Spain? The introduction of the EU Succession Regulations last year means people who own property abroad should be reviewing their Wills. We can advise on how foreign assets pass when you die and if it is possible to deal with that particular asset in your English Will.
Our Wills and Trusts Team are accredited members of the Law Society’s Wills and Inheritance Tax Quality Scheme. We also have full members of Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE). If you would like to make an appointment to discuss making a new Will, reviewing your current Will, inheritance tax or trust advice then please contact 01752 663295 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We like to see our clients face to face and so an appointment can be made to meet with us at our North Hill office or Plymstock branch. Alternatively if you would rather we came to you then a home visit can be arranged.