Making even a simple Will requires a fair amount of thought so choose a time when you are free from pressure or anxiety and are in a relaxed and clear-sighted frame of mind so that you can decide who will benefit from your estate. You will probably want to talk things through with your spouse, if you have one, a close friend, or preferably your solicitor.
You can leave your property and possessions to anyone or any organisations, such as a charity, subject to any legal claim your spouse and other dependants may have. You can leave selected items (jewellery, pieces of furniture, antiques, paintings, collection of books etc) to particular relatives, friends or charities. You may have certain family heirlooms which may not be worth much financially, but are of great sentimental value, which you wish to ensure are passed to family members of your own choosing.
Executors are the people you appoint to be in charge of your affairs and who will see that your wishes are carried out. An Executor should be someone you can trust, such as a close relative, friend, your bank or your solicitor. You may appoint up to four Executors and there is no problem if the Executors stand to benefit from you estate.
Guardians are the people who will look after your children until they are 18 years of age if your spouse does not survive you. Once appointed, they are the legal guardians of your children and will be responsible for their upbringing.
Trusts may be set up to ensure that beneficiaries are looked after until they are able to use their inheritance responsibly. You would need to decide how much to put into the trust, whom it should benefit, who the trustees are to be and what powers they will have.
Two are needed and you and they must all sign in each other’s presence. Witnesses and their immediate family may not benefit from a Will.
There is no need to say anything but you may have definite wishes for one of the other as well as specific instructions with regard to your remains. You may carry a donor card and wish your body to go to medical research or transplant surgery.
is a reminder of your estate after all the debts, funeral expenses, legacies, individual gifts and taxes have been deducted and all your other wishes have been carried out. You have to decide whom you want to benefit from this residue and by how much.
If you find some of these terms worrying or confusing, TheLawPracticeLtd can help. As solicitors we are trained to guide you through all the necessary decisions you will have to make in the course of drawing up your Will.
Inheritance tax may be payable on certain lifetime gifts and on the assets of your estate at the time of your death. Every year the Chancellor in his annual budget speech sets the threshold at which Inheritance Tax becomes payable.
It is perfectly proper to arrange your affairs so that on your death or your spouse’s death your estate, which represents what you and your family have worked hard to build up over the years, benefits your family or others of your choice rather that going to the State in taxation. Although often complicated tax planning and a well drafted Will can drastically reduce your potential Inheritance Tax liability.