Top Tips for Making a WillPublished on: 03 May 2022
By taking the positive step of making a Will, you can control the distribution of your estate, rather than relying upon the Statutory Intestacy Rules.
The Statutory Intestacy Rules, govern how a deceased person’s estate is to be distributed if they have not made a Will, and who should deal with the administration and more often than not, they do not provide for the desired outcome.
By preparing a Will, you can choose your:
- Guardian(s) for any infant children
3. Specific Gifts
When preparing your Will, you have the opportunity to provide for specific items to pass to beneficiaries of your choice.
This could include your grandfather clock that has been in the family for generations, your Lamborghini or favourite gold necklace.
Please, if you have promised someone a specific item prepare a Will and ensure such a gift is included to save arguments or indeed litigation at a later date - often it is items of limited monetary value but huge sentimental value that cause the most upset!
In addition, you may wish to include monetary bequests to individuals or charities.
4. Inheritance Tax
If you seek specialist advice when you prepare your Will, you will be advised on your Inheritance Tax position and whether it is likely your estate will be taxable.
Also, where appropriate, advice can be provided as to the options available to you in potentially reducing any Inheritance Tax liability.
The rules relating to Inheritance Tax can often be complex so seeking specialist advice, to ensure that you Will is drafted in the most tax efficient manner is vital.
5. Options - Your situation is not “too complicated”
Until you seek advice from a suitable qualified Lawyer with regards to the preparation of your Will, you cannot fully understand or appreciate the options available to you regarding the distribution of your estate.
It is our job to understand your particular circumstances and prepare a bespoke Will accordingly.
Often, clients put off seeking advice believing their situation is too complicated. We are well aware that the average family no longer consists of a married couple with two children but instead, blended families with unmarried parents or second marriages. We can assure you, we will always find a solution.
In the case of second marriages, where spouses have children from previous relationships, there are ways your Wills can be drafted so as to ensure that the surviving spouse is catered for, but that also, your children from a previous relationship also benefit.
If your assets are complicated and consist of business and/or farming interests (meaning your estate is assets rich, cash poor) and/or you are trying to achieve fairness between your children and can’t quite figure out how – we are here to help!
If you worry that there will be no money left in your estate to pass on to your children because it has all been spent on care fees, or that following your death, your spouse may re-marry putting your children’s inheritance at risk. By seeking professional advice, there are ways in which your Will can be drafted to potentially protect some of the value of your estate from the payment of care fees, from remarriage or indeed, unwise spending (be that by a spouse or children). This could also cover situations where perhaps a child is encountering matrimonial or financial difficulties.
6. Financial Advice
We do not as Lawyers provide financial advice, but often during our initial fact finding it will become apparent that you may benefit from financial advice – this could be in relation to life insurance, pensions or Inheritance Tax planning. We can help you get the correct/trusted advice.
7. Professional, specialist advice
Please, when you do make the decision to make a Will, seek advice from a suitable qualified Lawyer. If you have previously seen a Lawyer to make a Will and they have taken your instructions and prepared a Will for you, as directed, without giving you advice on any of the above, you have not sought the correct specialist advice! Review your Will.
8. We are not ogres
Clients often feel worried about taking that first step in making a Will. I promise we are not scary, we are all very friendly and approachable and do our very best to make you feel at ease throughout. The initial appointment consists of taking information regarding your personal and financial circumstances and understanding what you are trying to achieve. We will provide advice on your Inheritance Tax position and ensure that you understand the options available to you in distributing your estate.
9. Peace of Mind
Often, once a client has executed their Will, they speak of having a sense of peace, knowing it has been sorted.
10. Review your Will
Once you have prepared your Will, review it every three to five years or sooner if there has been a change in your circumstances or a change in the law, to Income Inheritance Tax.
By review, we mean take it out of the drawer, read through it and consider whether you feel it is still fit for purpose.