Why do I need a Will?
There are many reasons why you should have a Will. Your family and loved ones will be grieving for you and will find making decisions difficult. A Will lets them know what you wanted and can help avoid any further heartache for your loved ones. If you want to make sure who will deal with your estate and benefit from it when you are gone; if you want to minimise tax liabilities for your family; if you want to cater for special circumstances, such as a disabled child or step children; if you and your partner are not married; if you want to order your affairs the way you like; – for these and many other reasons, you need a Will.
If I am married and I die doesn’t all my money go to my spouse?
Not necessarily. If you die without leaving a Will, the “Rules of Intestacy” will apply – these rules say who will administer your Estate and who will benefit from it. Your spouse will receive all or part of your Estate depending on the amount involved and on whether you have children. If you have no spouse or children, your Estate could pass to members of your family with whom you have lost touch or even do not know exist. You have no control over where your assets will end up.
I’ve read somewhere that you can save a lot of tax with the right type of Will. Is that true?
Yes. Everyone has an exemption from Inheritance Tax (“IHT”), called the “Nil Rate Band”. Property passing to your spouse and/or charity, is never subject to IHT. Certain types of property, principally some business and agricultural property, may be wholly or partially exempt. If IHT is applicable, it is charged at 40% on any property above the Nil Rate Band.
If you make the “normal” type of Will where, on the first death, everything passes to your spouse, all the property will be exempt from IHT. However, on the death of your spouse, when it passes to the children, it will all be chargeable, except for the Nil Rate Band.
We can prepare a will for you, however, that enables your spouse to have complete control of all of your assets following your death while still preserving the benefit of your Nil Rate Band – on the second death, the value of the assets can be reduced by two Nil Rate Bands, saving tax for your children. The means of achieving this is by including in your will a “Discretionary Trust” with extra powers for the Trustees.
What do I need to do?
Come in and see us. However, if you cannot come and see us straight away, we can send you a short questionnaire to complete. Taking details of your circumstances and affairs and advising on the likely tax position will take between thirty minutes to an hour – a draft Will can be sent to you within a few days and the whole matter wrapped up in two to three weeks.
We can also advise you about Living Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney.
How much will it cost to prepare a Will?
A straightforward Will not needing trusts for tax reduction or family reasons is inexpensive, usually £150 plus VAT for a single Will or £200.00 plus VAT for a ‘joint mirror Will’. An additional fee is charged for home visits or for a Will which due to its complexity, requires additional time to draft. In those circumstances a cost estimate will be given at the initial meeting.