Making a Will
It is never too early to make a will
Only two things in life are certain: death and taxes. Drafting a will can help prepare for both. Drafting a will is crucial to controlling what happens to your assets after you die and will help ensure that you do not have to pay any more taxes than is necessary.
By drafting a will you can choose exactly who will benefit from your assets. If you fail to make a will they will be distributed in accordance with the Intestacy Rules. This could mean that someone will receive assets that you don’t want to or that someone will be excluded that you actually wanted to receive something.
You should also use the will to determine who will act as the executors of your estate. The executors are those that will administer the estate on your behalf after your death. They will have the power to sell assets will have to settle any debts that you have. It is important to select someone that will be able to cope with the pressure and difficulties of carrying out such a task.
You can appoint a legal guardian for any minor children that you have and you can make certain funeral arrangements.
Inheritance tax is tax you pay on your estate after you die. If your estate is worth more than the threshold then your executors will be liable to pay a percentage of the amount above the threshold to HMRC.
If you have given away part of your estate in the seven years preceding your death you may be liable to pay tax in relation to that gift. Spouses can transfer their nil rate band between themselves so this is something to consider also.
You should seek professional advice as to how best to deal with your estate in the most efficient way, inheritance tax rules are deeply complex.
I don’t have any assets so why do I need to make a will?
You may in fact have assets without even realising it. For instance you may have a life insurance policy which pays off your mortgage in the event of your premature death. Or your pension may form part of your estate when you die. Just because you don’t have access to these assets now does not mean they will not form part of your estate when you pass away.
As you can see from the above, a will is not just about distributing assets. It can direct care for your children.
Before you come to meet us to discuss your will you should make a couple of lists. The first is that of your assets and their approximate value along with any liabilities. This ensures we can consider the full inheritance tax implications. List two should contain the names and addresses of those people you wish to be executors of your will. You should always name more than one. You can list the names and addresses of those you wish to be the guardians of your minor children after your death. List three then should include the full names and addresses of those you wish to be beneficiaries under your will. You can note any specific assets that you wish them to receive.
We have over 30 years of experience advising clients in Newtownards and the wider Ards Peninsula on how best to draft their wills.
As with all our services, initial enquiries are completely free of charge. You will be under no obligation to instruct us and we will be delighted to advise in any way that we can. We will provide you at the outset with estimates of all our fees and charges. We are strongly of the opinion that transparency is important in developing a strong relationship with our clients.