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WHY MAKE A WILL?

Overview

Who needs to worry about a Will? My wife/partner/next of kin will just get it all right? Well, actually - NO! If you don’t have a valid Will then on your death, the law states that you died ‘intestate’. Who inherits from your estate will be decided on by the Inheritance Law, as will the guardianship of your children, and who administers your estate.

The consequences could be that someone who is either unsuitable being your executor, your children being raised by someone you wouldn’t want as no guardians have been appointed, or even a relative who doesn’t really know you winding up your estate, with your hard earned money and assets being given to people you would not like to benefit! The Rules:

If you have: A spouse/civil partner; Children*; and an estate worth more than £270,000:

  • Your spouse/civil partner would get £270,000

  • They would also get personal possessions

  • Anything over the £270,000 is split between them, and the children

If you have separated from your spouse/civil partner they can still inherit.

Cohabiting partners can’t inherit under intestacy rules.


If you are not married, and have no other relatives: Your estate will go to the Crown.

*Please note that "children" includes natural, adopted and illegitimate children, but excludes step-children

Partial intestacy

This may arise if your Will does not deal with all of your estate, or if your executors die before you. In this case the intestacy rules will either decide on the distribution of the estate, or who will administer the estate.

The process of dealing with an intestate estate is far more protracted, much more expensive, and causes additional stress, and distress to those left behind.

GUARDIANSHIP AND PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY

You need to consider who will be responsible for those of your children who are under the age of 18. Guardians must be appointed in writing, so appointing them in your Will is essential. If there is no surviving parent with parental responsibility for the child, the appointment of guardian/s in a Will take effect on death.

INHERITANCE TAX

Inheritance tax is a tax payable on death. Currently (2021) it is 40%, and is payable on your ‘chargeable estate’. (‘Chargeable estate’ is all assets, including your house, in excess of the ‘nil rate band’ currently £325,000.00 (2021))

THE COST

It is our general policy to keep the cost of a Will as low as possible. For a straightforward Will, the cost will normally be in the region of £250 for an individual and £400 for husband and wife (assuming their Wills are similar). If the Will is complex or requires several meetings or if you require from us a review of your potential Inheritance Tax liability and/or suggestions as to how to reduce that liability, the cost will, of course, be greater.

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