A Will is not just for the elderly

Many people feel they have cared for their family members and loved ones throughout their lives and that the future is pretty well planned out. However, without a Last Will and Testament in place, whatever your age, this sentiment is something of a folly.

Writing a Will is the most important thing you can do to ensure your family and loved ones are protected in the future. While there can be no doubt that writing a Will is a difficult process, and something which many young people see as not relevant to them, it is far better to tackle the issue sooner rather than later.

Sally Andrews, Solicitor for Wills, Trusts and Probate in Sevenoaks, can help you draft a Will to suit your circumstances, your family structure and, above all, to provide peace of mind and protection for your loved ones.

Who should write a Will?

If you have any type of asset, whether it’s a savings account, family heirloom or property in your name, if you want someone specific to have it on your death, you will need to write a Will.

Any person who has reached the age of eighteen may write a Will. However, many people do not address the question until they themselves have lost a parent, become a parent or experienced ill-health. Whoever you are and whatever your circumstances, it is always a good idea to have a valid and up-to-date Will in place; life can be unpredictable and there is no substitute for planning ahead.

What is the purpose of a Will?

A Will is, of course, primarily concerned with ‘who gets what’ after your death, but it can be so much more important than that. This is because a Will can address important questions such who should look after your children if they are under the age of eighteen, how business interests will be handled and how vulnerable dependants will be looked after financially once you have gone.

Furthermore, a Will is particularly important if you do not fit neatly into the kind of nuclear family structure which the law largely caters for. As such, you should consider a Will a particular priority if you:

  • Reside outside of the UK.
  • Own overseas property or assets.
  • Have financial dependants.
  • Are a business owner.
  • Have step-children.
  • Have more than one child.
  • Have children from more than one relationship.
  • Live with or share property with someone to whom you are not married or civil partnered.

If you are part of a cohabiting couple, the importance of writing a Will cannot be stressed enough. Co-habiting partners have no automatic right to inherit even a single penny from their loved one’s estate – this is true regardless of how many children they have or how long they have lived together.

Although it is true that a cohabiting partner can make a claim against their loved one’s estate, the legal costs for doing this can approach six-figures. Furthermore, even if a cohabiting partner does inherit, this can have profound inheritance tax implications for any children involved. This is why it may be beneficial for cohabiting partners to not only make a Will but to also make a Wills trust.

Types of Will

At Wellers we have designed a set of Wills that work especially well for modern family structures and business situations.

STARTING OUT WILL – An affordable Will for young families

Protecting your children

Starting Out WillThis 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

Living Together Will

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

Family Will

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

Complex Family Will

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
Capital Protection

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

Safeguarding Will

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

Business Property Relief WillIf 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

Home Protection Will

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.

Whatever your situation and personal circumstance, Wellers Reece-Jones can help you draft a Will, and we will be on hand to update it as and when you wish.

We have also created a free brochure full of useful information for you to download by clicking on the link below.

Wills Brochure


Wellers Reece-Jones Wills solicitors in Sevenoaks, Kent

If you need advice and legal guidance in relation to the creation of a Will or Wills trust, please call Wellers Reece-Jones in Sevenoaks.

Sally Andrews and a dedicated team of professional support staff will be happy to look after your needs in relation to creating a Will, storing a Will and looking after the probate at the time of your death.

For more information about our service and how we can tailor your Will to your circumstances, contact the Wellers Reece-Jones offices in Sevenoaks today. Please call Sally Andrews or Annelise Tyler on 01732 446362 or email sally.andrews@wellerslawgroup.com or annelise.tyler@wellerslawgroup.com.

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