A startling majority of adults die without leaving a Will, which can spell disaster for their families and their estate. Creating a Will ensures your legacy is properly managed and distributed in the way you wish, rather than swallowed up by red tape, and your loved ones will not suffer undue taxation, confusion and frustration during the administration of your assets.
We can bring absolute clarity to how you should structure your assets in regard to your Will. It may be an emotional process, and not always simple, but it is worth it. Remember that a Will also goes beyond dealing with your financial and material affairs – it will also nominate your executor, leave instructions regarding care for dependents if both partners die, and guide your funeral arrangements.
Our Wills and trusts service is managed by our sister company, Carlton Smith Asset Protection, who will be happy to talk through what needs to be done.
What’s the cost of drawing up a Will?
There is no set cost for getting a solicitor or Will specialist to draw up your Will for you. Charges will vary from provider to provider and could be anything from £140 to £600, rising according to the level of complexity and the rates the solicitor or specialist chooses to charge. Meanwhile, you may have overlooked it, but you can actually draw up your own Will for free, if you know how to do it. It is possible to download a template from numerous websites or buy a blank document from a stationery supplier, or you can draw up the document yourself and complete it as you wish. Although we do not recommend this route, as long as your Will is signed and dated by yourself and two appropriate witnesses, it is legally valid. Our job is to help you to leave your estate in the most favourable way for you financially. If you would like to know more about Will services, we will be happy to refer you to our sister company, Carlton Smith Asset Protection, who will be able to advise and assist you in drawing up a legal will that clarifies your intentions for your estate after your death and fully protects your assets and your family.
Doesn’t my spouse simply inherit everything if I die without a Will?
This is not necessarily true. If you die without a Will in place, the laws of intestacy state that your spouse can inherit the first £250,000 of your estate, with the remainder being distributed amongst your children, of course if you have no child, then this doesn’t apply. This may mean that legally your wife does not have enough money to last her for the rest of her life, and she may need to rely on the goodwill of your children. If you and your husband, wife or civil partner have both made a Will, then within it each of you can specify that in the case of your death all your possessions will pass to the other, and the problem is solved. We’ll be pleased to provide a full fact sheet on this topic for you to study at your leisure – don’t hesitate to ask us to send you a copy.
What is the standard rate of inheritance tax (IHT)?
The standard rate of inheritance tax (IHT) is currently 40% on the deceased’s estate above the nil-rate band (NRB), which has been set at £325,000 since 2009. You can still leave your entire estate to your spouse if you are married or in a civil partnership without attracting IHT, nor adversely affecting their nil-rate band allowance.
In 2016, the government also introduced the Residence NRB in response to the rise in property prices, which pushed an increasing number of estate values over the allowance limit. Currently, £125,000 can be set against the value of the deceased’s main residence on top of the NRB allowance. This will rise to £150,000 in 2019/20 and £175,000 in 2020/21, after which it will be set at this amount.
Also note if you leave at least 10% of your estate to charity, then the balance of your estate above the NRB will be taxed at 36% instead of 40%.
How often should I review my Will?
This can be a sensitive question. Many relatives may think you are reviewing your Will to make adjustments to your beneficiaries and what you may leave them, but there are in fact many good, practical reasons for you to review your Will on a regular basis. Your circumstances may change whereby you need to amend your will – you might structure your estate in a new way for tax purposes, you may sell certain assets mentioned specifically in the Will, or perhaps your spouse may die. Government rules might also change with regard to allowances or transfer of assets, forcing you to rearrange your finances to minimise tax exposure. We believe you should review your Will annually to ensure it still fulfils your needs and desires in the event of your death.
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