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Many people think that writing a Will is something to put off until later in life or make assumptions about how there estate will be distributed on their death.
However, the only way to be completely certain that your property and possessions go to the people you love is to write a Will.
If you decide to make a Will, it is important to consider what you want to happen when you are no longer here. These decisions require careful consideration and if you have any queries or concerns then you should give us a call.
We offer free initial advice on all of the key points that you will need to consider when making a Will. If you decide to make your Will with us we offer a more comprehensive information and advice service. This ensures that you are fully informed and are clear on your decisions.
What you own - your property, money, pensions, investments and possessions (including those owned jointly)
Who you wish to benefit - your beneficiaries
You should think about who you want to benefit from your Will; whether these are individual people or an organisation such as a charity, and what would be the most effective way of leaving them a legacy (a gift in a Will is known as a ‘legacy’). You should take into account that your circumstances may have changed significantly by the time of your death. You need to make sure that your Will is drafted in a way that does not present problems. If, for instance a beneficiary dies before you, or your estate is worth significantly more or less than at the time you made your Will.
Who will administer your estate - your Executors
Your Will should name one or more Executors (an Executor will deal with your estate after your death). The Executors can be relatives, friends or a professional such as a Solicitor. An Executor should be someone you can trust to carry out your wishes in accordance with your Will. Executors can be beneficiaries under the Will and often people appoint their spouse or children as Executors. You will need to consider naming more than one Executor in case one dies before you.
You should ensure that your Executors are aware that you have appointed them and that they know the location of your Will.
Who will look after your children (if minors) - your Guardians
The appointment of a Guardian will usually only apply if you and the child’s other parent are both dead. Guardianship involves a lot of responsibility and you should ask people to agree to act before appointing them.
Who will look after your pets
If you have particular views about your funeral you can write a letter to your Executor explaining how you would like it conducted. This letter should be stored with your Will. An important consideration which you should make clear is whether you would prefer to be buried or cremated.
You might also like to give consideration to a pre-paid funeral plan which enables you to prearrange, and pay for your own funeral, protecting your family and friends from the expense, and worry, at a potentially difficult time in their lives. You can contact Denise Wellington Funeral Director (www.denisewellingtonfunerals.co.uk) to discuss this further and talk through the options and cost.
Who will manage Trusts - your Trustees
If you have children under the age of 18 years named as beneficiaries in your Will then it is likely that there will be an ongoing Trust that will need to be administered and you will need to consider who to appoint as Trustees. In most cases it will be the people you have also named as your Executors.
Inheritance Tax is payable if your taxable estate is worth more than the Inheritance Tax threshold (currently £325,000 plus VAT) (this is also called the ‘Nil Rate Band’).
Not all of your estate will count for the purposes of calculating Inheritance Tax, for example anything left to your spouse or civil partner is taken off the value of your estate (providing that you are both permanently resident in the UK). There are also exemptions for certain gifts, such as any gifts to charities and reliefs for certain business and agricultural property.
Please contact us us to discuss these issues in more detail. We can then send you a Will Information Form to complete which will assist you in considering the issues further at your leisure prior to progressing the matter of your Will with us