A Will is simply a way of ensuring that everything that you own (your ‘estate’) passes upon your death to the persons of your choice (your ‘beneficiaries’). If you do not make a Will there are various legal rules that automatically determine who receives your estate (the ‘laws of intestacy’), and these will not necessarily reflect your wishes.
This can be particularly important if your affairs are complex or unusual. For example, if you have children by a former marriage or if you are separated, divorced or unmarried but have a partner. In these circumstances your children or partner will not necessarily receive your estate if you do not make provision for them by Will. By making a properly drafted Will you can ensure that your estate will pass to your children, while also ensuring that your new spouse or partner have the use of it during their lifetime.
A Will is also useful for appointing someone (a ‘testamentary guardian’) who will be able to look after your children if you die before they become adult, as well as ensuring that a person of your choice deals with the distribution of your estate for the benefit of your family (ie your ‘executor’).
The liability of your estate to death duties (‘inheritance tax’) will depend on its value, the nature of the assets being left and the relationship between the beneficiary and yourself. If you are married then, on the death of the survivor of you, it may be possible to claim a double tax exemption, but this depends upon the claim being made within certain time limits and the necessary documents being available within that period.
We have the expertise to help you to make a Will which enables your intended beneficiaries to be properly provided for, advise on any claim that can be made against your estate, and also how any liability to inheritance tax can be minimised, or possibly even avoided altogether.
Contact Chris Wallace
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