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Your Will - Things To Consider

Appointing Executors - You must appoint one or more executors to carry out the wishes of the Will. They can be beneficiaries, however depending on the complexity and size of the estate it may be worthwhile considering professional advisers to guide your family. The grip of Inheritance Tax on many homeowners means mistakes can cost a lot of money in unnecessary tax.

Appointing Guardians - One of the most important considerations is the ongoing care of minor children. The guardians are the people who assume full legal responsibility for your children but they are not responsible for assets left to young children. This is the job of the executor who becomes trustee of the funds. Guardians and Executors can be the same person. This crucial subject is discussed in greater detail further along in this booklet.

Dividing Your Estate - Who would you like to inherit from you and in what percentages? Would you like to leave any individual sums of money (legacies) or individual items (gifts) to anyone? Gifts and legacies are paid out first from your estate and the remainder is known as the Residuary Estate which is divided amongst named beneficiaries in designated shares.

Common Questions

Do I need to worry about taxes on my death? If your estate totals more than 325,000* (including the family home) than anything above this amount is taxable at 40%. However there are certain exemptions for which you may qualify.

What happens if my spouse remarries (new partner) after my death? Marriage or Civil Partnership automatically revoke all former Wills. Consequently they need to make a new Will otherwise they run the risk of the estate they inherited from you passing to their new spouse/partner. This is an increasing common problem for families. Certain types of Trust Wills can offer security for the surviving spouse/partner whilst ensuring assets must ultimately pass to specified beneficiaries. Our consultant will be happy to explain some options here.

How often should my Will be reviewed? Your Will definitely needs revising whenever there have been significant changes in your life e.g births, deaths, house move, marriage, divorce, disability etc However legislation also changes and your Will needs to reflect this. Consequently it is advisable to reassess it every few years.

I was divorced recently, how do I ensure that my ex-spouse does not receive anything?

Whilst divorce automatically disinherits former spouses, the safest way to ensure this is to make a new Will.

My wife and I are separated - do I need to change my Will?

Only if your wishes have changed, but definitely review it immediately.

*2010 / 2011 IHT Threshold.