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| Why Should You Make A Last Will?
To ensure that your belongings (estate) pass to the people you choose
without delay or argument.
Making a Last Will is as much about your wishes
as your wealth. It means that you take the decisions about which of your
possessions goes to whom, whether they are financial or simply
sentimentally valued possessions
a Last Will, It’s also about your beneficiary’s health as much as
wealth. Dealing with death is very hard; if you add uncertainty and
ambiguity at the same time then health problems undoubtedly arise.
deceased has not left a Will
your family would have to choose a representative for you to
approach probate, to obtain, a
grant of letters of administration, ensuring someone is appointment as
the administrator for your estate. Your estate is then
distributed under the rigid rules governing the Law Of Intestacy. This
law, laid down in the Administration of Estates Act, applies
irrespective of the amount of wealth a person owns at death.
Where the deceased has not
left a Will the
law does not allow any opportunity to consider any wishes the deceased
may have had, even if those wishes appeared obvious and written down
other than by a properly executed Will. In fact a Will written, but not
executed correctly, could very well constitute that the deceased had
changed his mind as to whom his beneficiaries should be.
I don’t need a Will I have very little to
A man died who, after deducting all his debts and
liabilities, had only a few thousand pounds and no living relatives. His
best friend knew that the man was an ardent supporter of childrens
charities and had been told by his friend many times that “when he
died he wanted all his cash to be given to that particular childrens
charity”. The man duly passed this information on to probate, who had
no option under the law, but to give the mans few thousand pounds
directly to the Crown.
deceased has left a Will
your chosen executor is appointed and applies for a grant of probate
this frees your estate for distribution to your family in the exact way
that you have decided in your Will.
Which do you think would be the simplest and
quickest? Hmm, should I leave a Will or rely on intestacy?
a Last Will spouses may not automatically inherit all of your estate. It is important to be aware that the spouse of a
deceased person who died intestate, DOES NOT automatically inherit the
whole of the spouse estate if the total value of the free estate passing
on the death is of substantial value. The Law prescribes what a
surviving spouse can automatically receive, this is known as the
statutory legacy, and the amount is dependent on whether or not the
deceased was also survived by issue (children) and certain other
relatives, again in order of strict priority.
Did you know
that if you own your house jointly
with your spouse or partner you couldn’t leave your share to your
children unless you take other steps and make specific arrangements in
your Last Will?
Without a Last Will unmarried partners would not inherit
your estate. So even after many years living together partners may get
nothing if no Will is made and properly executed.
you do not own your home jointly you could find yourselves having
serious problems even staying in the property.
fact that a couple have been living together for many years gives no
automatic entitlement to the estate of the first to die. Even if,
through the courts, you eventually get the estate you may have had to
wait many years and paid many unnecessary fees while sorting it out.
a Last Will and naming your beneficiary and executor would solve a
potential disaster from happening.
By making a Last Will and Testament any doubt as to the
ultimate destination of a testator's estate is removed and the true
wishes of the testator are made known to those left behind.
Of Children maybe the most important reason to make your Last Will
most married couples or cohabiters the overriding requirement is to make
provision for the survivor and any children they may have. They are also
concerned about the possibility of their both being killed in a common
disaster leaving minor children surviving them.
Testators with minor children should consider who
would have the care of any minor children who survive them.
The guardianship of minors act
1971 has been repealed in its entirety by the Childrens Act 1989,
A parent with parental
responsibility may appoint a guardian. Broadly speaking, a mother has
parental responsibility irrespective of her marital status. A father has
automatic parental responsibility if he has been married to the mother
at any time later than the date of conception. An unmarried father may
aquire parental responsibility by court order or agreement with the
Childs mother. An appointment may be made by Last Will or in writing
(section 5 (5)).
An appointment by one spouse
where the other spouse survives will now not normally take effect until
after the death of the surviving spouse. If the surviving spouse also
appoints a guardian, the two guardians will act together after the death
of the surviving spouse.
with minor children should consider who would have the care (guardianship)
of any minor children who survive them by making sure that a guardian is named
in your will. Thus giving someone of your choice your legal consent through your
Will, therefore, preventing the state and social services stepping in and having
to choose a guardian for your child in your absence.
state will undoubtedly do its best for the child but why risk the unnecessary
trauma this can cause. Make a Last Will and make YOUR wishes known. It can
take The Social Services years to make this decision for you.
AFTER they make
this decision, COSTS could be incurred for doing it, payable from your estate,
from your childrens inheritance.
Needless to say,
great consideration must be given to appoint someone appropriate and responsible
who can love and care for the infant as you would have done yourself. You may
wish to consider a close relative or Godparent to fill this parental role. A
suitable executor can also act as guardian and vice versa.
Tax may be payable on your estate when you die.
in any doubt you should seek professional advice. Please advise us if this
is the case when you submit instructions for a Will.
Inheritance Tax is paid on any assets passing between husband and wife.
How much and when is IHT payable?
This depends on each individual's estate and
how it was made up at the date of death. Each individual has a Nil
Rate Band threshold.
Inheritance tax thresholds and rates. If you are
single and die during the tax year 2016-2017 with an estate worth
more than £325,000 (including money, property and
investments, but after deducting debts and expenses such as funeral
costs), 40% tax will become due on anything above £325,000.
You have six months from the end of the
month in which death occurred to pay the tax. Payments made can be
from any savings or investments that may be available within the
estate. If the main assets are (as is typical) made up from property
and savings or investments and are not available then you may be
able to pay the tax owed in instalments, interest may be charged on
payment in instalments.
Inheritance Tax is payable provided that the total value of your estate is less
than the inheritance tax threshold.
Tax is paid at 40% on any part of your estate above the inheritance tax
When valuing your estate you should take into account the value of all of your
assets, including your property, savings, stocks, shares, premium bonds,
Building Society accounts, Bank accounts, antiques, in fact everything that you
you are in doubt as to your financial position, whether Inheritance Tax would be
due and it's effect on your estate, you should seek professional advice. Please
advise us if this is the case when you submit instructions for a Will.
from the founder of WiseWills.
experience has shown me that people often plan to make a Last Will and
Testament but for whatever reason they seldom get around to doing anything about
it. Often leaving their most loved one’s in a needless panic at a time when
they most need reassurance".
The facts are, according
to the Probate Office, about 70% of the adult population of the UK have not made
a Last Will.
making (or executing as it is also known) a Last Will, the testator (the person
making the Will) is making sure that when he or she dies the personal and
real estate assets that they leave behind passes to the person or persons who
the testator has nominated, and that the wishes for such disposals are clearly
However, if a person
fails to make a Last Will, any personal and real estate left behind are
distributed according to the
Intestacy. In such an event the distribution may not be exactly what the
deceased person would have wished to happen. Many people assume that when they
die all their estate passes to their spouse/partner and/or children but this is
not necessarily true in all cases and is dependent on other factors and personal
By making a Last Will and Testament any doubt as to the ultimate
destination of a testator's estate is removed and the true wishes of the
testator are made known to those left behind.
Delay in making that Last Will. The Consequences?
Without a valid Last Will and Testament your beneficiaries are left with
the problem of obtaining a Grant of
Letters of Administration and appointing an administrator in your
absence to deal with disposing of your estate under the rules of
intestacy. This can take months, sometimes many months. In the meantime
your surviving spouse or partner has all the usual, household, weekly,
monthly, and daily expenses to find. All this and they will undoubtedly
be on a reduced income.
surviving spouse or partner may not have access to money they would
normally have a right to because it could be frozen until all the
formalities have been sorted out. In the above situation it could take
you have named an executor in your will they need only apply for a Grant
Of Probate and this usually takes a couple of weeks at the most.
from a Badly Prepared D-I-Y Last Will!
leave everything to my wife and on her death it is to be shared between
absolute disaster! The husband wanted to leave everything to his wife,
who would then on her death leave it to their children. This statement
means that his estate by-passed his wife in favour of his children.
His wife is left merely holding his estate in trust for the
|This is one of the reasons
why lawyers spend more time, and make more money, sorting out disputes
in badly drafted do-it-yourself last will than they do from actually
drawing them up.
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