The importance of writing a Will
Whether you are 18 or 80, if you have assets and wealth that you would like to pass on to a specific recipient then writing a Will should be a top priority. Without a valid Will your property will be distributed according to intestacy laws which may mean that your wishes are not carried out.
When should you write a Will
It’s a common misconception that Wills are only for the elderly; that you only need to prepare for the inevitable when you are older. However, if you have property in your name, investments or a savings account and you want to ensure your loved ones are looked after, then a Will is the best method of making sure your wishes are upheld should you die unexpectedly.
Anyone can make a Will from the day they turn 18. However, it is important to make sure you are creating a valid Will and, once drafted, you must also keep your Will up-to-date if and when your circumstances change. Any alterations you make will need to be drafted and witnessed correctly if the document is to remain valid.
What can a Will do?
While a Will may be primarily concerned with distributing your estate upon death (i.e setting out who gets what) your Will can also address important issues such as how vulnerable adults may be cared for. You can use a Will to set up a trust for your children or to ensure your parents are financially cared for.
You can also use your Will to name guardians for your children and to specify how business assets will be handled.
If I die without a Will, won’t my partner get everything?
Not necessarily. There is a common misconception that if you live with a person, they will automatically benefit from your estate if you die. This is not the case, especially if you are not married and/or you have children with that person or from a previous relationship, or if you are the sole owner of the property that you and your partner live in.
When intestacy law is applied (when there is no Will), a cohabiting partner may receive nothing from the deceased person’s estate, while their partner’s children from another relationship or even their parents get everything.
Can I write a DIY Will?
There are numerous platforms on which to create a Will, but not all Will writing services will ensure a qualified solicitor checks that the Will is suitable for your needs or that the final document is valid.
There are many scenarios and situations in which a basic Will may not be suitable and it will only become apparent when you are gone that the people you wish to benefit from your estate may not do so at all or as fully as you had wished. Although Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB) adds a specified amount to the standard threshold of £325,000 for direct descendants, beneficiaries of those with assets valued at above the exempt sum will have to pay Inheritance Tax (IHT) unless a clear estate planning strategy has been put in place.
What type of Will do I need?
The most appropriate type of Will for your circumstances will depend on a number of factors. For instance, if you reside outside of the UK, have overseas property or assets, have financial dependants or have children from more than one relationship, then it is essential that an experienced estate planning solicitor evaluates your situation to assist you when drafting your Will.
Similarly, if you are cohabiting with someone, but are not married or in a civil partnership, the importance of having Wills cannot be stressed enough, especially if you share a property and have children together.
How can Wellers Hedleys help?
Talk to Dawn Pearce about our Will and estate planning service in Surrey. We can assist you with a package of Wills for all sorts of situations; from simple, affordable Wills for young people with children, to complex wills for people with vulnerable dependants, business assets and/or high value assets with a need to mitigate IHT.
Choose the Will that best suits your situation:
- STARTING OUT WILL – An affordable Will for young families
Protecting your children
This simple Will allows you to have a professionally prepared Will at a reasonable price. It is particularly appropriate for young families who may have some assets, such as a first home and who want to ensure their spouse will inherit, then their children. It also enables the naming of a guardian for your children.
- LIVING TOGETHER WILL – Avoid double taxation for unmarried couples and save on Inheritance Tax
Managing the tax burden for unmarried couples
This Will for cohabitees can help to mitigate Inheritance Tax (IHT). If your Will simply gifts everything to your partner, any value above £325,000 (the current nil rate band) will be taxed at 40%. When your partner dies, the value of their estate above the nil rate band will be taxed again at 40% – that’s a total of 80% paid to the taxman. When your estate is taxed twice this reduces the value of the estate available to your children once you both die.
By creating trusts in your individual Living Together Wills you can double the tax relief available to your combined estates. This could reduce the IHT burden by up to £130,000.
- FAMILY WILL – Ensure your estate is distributed as you wish and manage Inheritance Tax issues
Ensuring your partner is financially secure
This Will is suitable for those whose family is growing up or if your estate consists of more substantial assets, including property, investments and savings. Dying without a Will means that the rules of intestacy govern how your estate is divided between your spouse and your children and this can cause significant issues for your spouse.
Our Family Will enables you to leave everything to your spouse, as well as providing specific gifts to your children and any other beneficiary you wish, such as a charity. When drafting Wills, we will always review your Inheritance Tax position and, if necessary, suggest an alternative type of Will such as our Capital Protection Will (see below)
- COMPLEX FAMILY WILL – Married more than once? This Will is for you
Ensuring the right family members inherit
Divorce, second and third marriages, step children – today’s blended families need special consideration in your Will if your beneficiaries are to inherit as you wish. Without a Will, your new spouse could inherit all your assets and then make a Will which leaves everything to another person on remarriage. This means your children from your first marriage could lose out on assets that you intend for them.
The Wellers solution is to use trusts to ensure that if you remarry after a divorce, your new spouse benefits on your death while certain assets are protected (ring-fenced) so that your children can benefit once your new spouse dies.
- CAPITAL PROTECTION WILL – Use trusts to mitigate IHT for your spouse and family
Inheritance Tax liability can be substantial for spouses choosing to leave everything to each other in “mirror wills”. At Wellers we can assist you in setting up trusts which will enable you to provide for your spouse and substantially reduce IHT liability on their death.
To enable careful management of trusts and timely testamentary dispositions to children, as part of our Capital Protection Will we advise that Wellers are appointed as executors of the trusts. This means we can provide the strongest possibility of maximising the potential tax savings.
- SAFEGUARDING WILL – Look after the finances and welfare of vulnerable spouses or children on your death
Protecting vulnerable loved ones
Your Will may need to provide protection for a vulnerable spouse or child who is unable to suitably manage a large inheritance. If this is the case, our Safeguarding Will is designed to see assets put into trust so that your beneficiary is financially secure and protected from loss of means tested benefits or conflict with other beneficiaries. The appointment of a trustee, perhaps a family member or Wellers’ solicitors, will mean the financial needs of your loved one will be carefully looked after once you have gone.
<b>Business Property Relief Will</b>: If you own a business, you may wish to draft your Will so that the asset does not become liable for IHT on your death. Wellers can perform an audit to confirm eligibility for Business Property Relief and then by setting up a Business Will Trust your beneficiaries will be able to benefit from the tax relief following your passing.
- BUSINESS PROPERTY RELIEF WILL – For business owners: structure your Will to protect tax relief on your death
Saving Inheritance Tax on key business assets
If your trading business’s asset profile is not monitored correctly, you can end up paying 40% tax on its value, on death, instead of 0% Inheritance Tax. If it does qualify for Business Property Relief and you gift it to your spouse, this risks losing the tax relief.
We can perform an audit for you to confirm that your business qualifies for Business Property Relief now, which means you pay 0% Inheritance Tax on the value of your business. If it does not qualify, we can make recommendations to correct this. If your business qualifies, we recommend that we conduct a review with the assistance of your accountants on an annual basis. The rationale for this is that the business must qualify for two consecutive years immediately prior to death.
In conjunction with our Business Will Trusts we can ensure, with the cooperation of the business manager, that it continues to qualify for the remainder of your spouses’ life and thereafter. We advise that we are made trustees perhaps with your trusted business partner.
- HOME PROTECTION WILL – Use trusts to protect your legacy
Ensuring the family home is not lost
If your home is your main asset and you wish to protect your capital share for future generations, the Wellers Home Protection Will can be drafted to ensure your share is put into trust upon your death. This could protect your legacy for your intended beneficiaries should your spouse go into a care home or remarry. Wellers can create a bespoke set of conditions and addendums to ensure your spouse is able to benefit in the way you wish as well as ensuring that capital is ring-fenced for your children.
Creating a Will may seem like a daunting prospect, but please don’t let that put you off preparing this essential document. Here at Wellers Hedleys we will be happy to help you.
Wellers Hedleys – Will Writing Services in Surrey
In the present environment, you may wish to arrange your Will with Cara through phone and video conferencing. You can find out more information about how to do this using our Wellers Connect Will service.
We have created a useful brochure which you can download by clicking on the link below.
For guidance and legal advice relating to creating a Will or Wills trust please contact Wellers Hedleys today.
Cara and a dedicated team of estate planning professionals can assist you professionally and courteously from start to finish; from initial drafting of your Will through to ensuring it is witnessed correctly and then stored safely. We can also help you create lasting powers of attorney and we provide full probate and estate administration services when the time arises, and this means you can rest assured that your loved ones will be in good hands.
Contact Dawn Pearce today on 01372 750100 or email your enquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org