So you’ve decided to make a Will...
At Posada & Co, our lawyers have several years experience in advising on and drafting tax-efficient Wills. Having a legally valid Will and making sure it represents your wishes is one of the most basic things you can do to protect your family from uncertainties such as family disputes or unexpected tax bills after your passing.
The only certain way to guarantee that your loved ones inherit what you intend is by making a Will. If you die without having made a Will, the intestacy rules apply in an illogical manner. This may lead to your spouse having to share your estate with other relatives whom you may have never intended to benefit.
Currently, the intestacy rules do not recognise unmarried partners. This means that if you live with your partner and die without having made a will, your partner will not inherit anything from you estate. Your estate will automatically pass to your surviving family and your partner will have to make a claim on the estate. This is expensive and obviously a situation that should be avoided.
Here are a few things to consider when writing a Will:
- You must appoint executors to deal with your estate. These executors have a very important role to play and should be either business minded relatives or friends and/or professional advisors.
- You can provide for specific funeral arrangements in your Will. For example, some people ask for their body to be donated to science, others wish to have a natural burial and some have even planned their funeral service.
- You can safeguard your minor children’s interests by appointing legal guardians to care for them if both parents have died.
- Personal items such as jewellery, paintings, heirloom can be passed on in the will and by reference to an informal letter of wishes.
- You can benefit good causes by giving to charity. Gifts to charities are free of inheritance tax.
- The inclusion of a trust within the will can offer flexible solutions to practical problems. For example, a carefully drafted Will can ensure that your assets pass to the intended beneficiaries rather than going towards the cost of residential care of your surviving spouse.
- Wills can be used to provide for complex family arrangements, for example to include children from previous relationships. A will can give a second spouse the right to occupy the family home, while protecting the capital for children of an earlier relationship. This will ensure that your assets will not pass outside the immediate family (if your spouse re-marries after your death) and may pre-empt potential challenges to the distribution of your estate.
- A trust set-up within your Will can protect assets should future generations suffer financial or matrimonial difficulties, or the beneficiaries are not mature and responsible enough to deal with large sums of money.
- Your will can also direct business interests (such as shares in a company or family business) to those intended. We can also advise you on inheritance tax relief available on businesses assets.