Have you written a will?

You have worked hard for your money so it makes sense that you decide where it goes when you die.  Without a Will, you are intestate and the law dictates who benefits from your estate. 

With family life becoming ever more complex, it is important to ensure that you have a Will setting out what you want to happen to your estate when you die.  This can be even more important in a situation where you may be on a second marriage and you both might want to make provision for children from the first marriage, or when you cohabit your partner has no automatic entitlement to your estate under intestacy, regardless of how long you have been together.  All of these factors can be addressed through Will planning.

Our Specialist Team will not only take your instructions, they will advise you of the tax implications and other considerations so that you can make an informed decision about your wishes.  A carefully drafted Will can save thousands in Inheritance Tax when the time comes.

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What is a Codicil?

A Codicil is a legal document which sets out alterations to somebody’s Will and works alongside the Will rather than replacing it.  It is usually simpler to redraft the original Will as all wishes are then in one place and the cost for a simple Codicil and a simple change to a Will is similar.

What is Inheritance Tax?

Inheritance Tax is a tax applied to an estate upon death after all the nil rate tax allowances have been claimed.  A well drafted Will can help utilise the allowances in the most efficient way.  Inheritance Tax (IHT) is currently 40% after allowances.

Can I leave gifts for certain people or a registered charity?

Yes, of course. If you want to leave specific personal possessions to certain people, then you can outline this in your Will. You can also leave money to your favourite registered charity(s), but again you can only guarantee this by including it in your Will. 

In fact gifts to charities are exempt from Inheritance Tax so use none of your tax free allowances.  There is also a way to leave a percentage of your estate to charity which can reduce the overall tax rate on the other gifts, which his particularly useful on larger estates. 

Does a Civil Partnership affect my Will?

When you marry or enter into a civil partnership, any Will that you already have in place will be revoked and is therefore no longer valid.  You can prevent this from happening by making your Will in contemplation of your marriage or civil partnership and name the person you intend to enter into the marriage or civil partnership with.

Can an Executor of a Will also be a beneficiary?

Yes, it is legal to make a beneficiary of your Will an executor too. In fact, it’s actually pretty common for people to do so. After all, family and close friends are the people that you are going to trust the most and are going to want to leave a gift to when you pass away. However, it’s still extremely important to take your time when you choose an executor. This is because they will be the one responsible for sorting out your finances, making your funeral plans and carrying out your wishes.

Do I need a separate Will if I own an overseas property?

We always recommend making a Will in the country where other assets are held and to seek advice from legal professional in that jurisdiction.  It is important that neither of your Wills revoke each other.

Who can witness my Will?

There are strict rules about witnessing the Will to ensure that it is valid.  Two people need to be present to witness your Will and they should be independent people, so not a family member or beneficiary of the Will.  Neighbours or colleagues may be ideal if they are not in the Will or related to anyone who is. 

Are there different types of Wills?

There are many different types of Wills and our Specialist Team will advise you on the best one for your circumstances in order to achieve your goals.

I am getting married for a second time, will this affect my Will?

Marriage or Civil Partnership revokes a Will so if you remarry, your existing Will may no longer be valid.  Your estate would pass under the law of intestacy in this case.  However, you can make a Will in contemplation of marriage/civil partnership before the event to ensure that it is not revoked.

How do I choose an Executor?

Often people choose a family member as an Executor or a trusted friend, which is absolutely fine, whether they are in the Will or not.  Professionals can be appointed as Executors also and this can be used if there is no surviving family or where the estate will be complex to administer or where there are ongoing Trusts.

If someone creates a Will without mental capacity, is it valid?

Testamentary capacity is the legal term used to describe a person’s mental capacity to make or amend an existing Will.  If, when challenged, it can be proven that the person making the Will lacked testamentary capacity at the time, the Will may be invalid.  What happens at this point will depend on whether there were previous Wills and other factors.

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I would like to mention Jessica Dawkins for her helpful advice, her kindness, and her patience in her dealing with me. Thank you.

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Saul Caplan

Wills, Inheritance, Trusts and Probate | BTMK Goodson

Sophie Bacon

Private Client | BTMK Todmans

Paula Dallison

Private Client | BTMK Todmans

Susan Foxen

Wills, Inheritance, Trusts & Probate | BTMK Goodson

Laura Dwyer

Wills, Inheritance, Trusts and Probate | BTMK Todmans

Mark Goodson

Wills, Inheritance, Trusts and Probate | BTMK Goodson

Saheb Choudhury

Wills, Inheritance, Trusts and Probate | BTMK Goodson

Megan McKinlay

Wills, Inheritance, Trusts and Probate | BTMK Goodson

Kavita Ryatt

Wills, Inheritance, Trusts and Probate | BTMK Goodson

Nabiha Umer

Private Client | BTMK Todmans

Jessica Dawkins

Wills, Inheritance, Trusts and Probate | BTMK Goodson

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