Making a will and other related matters

Making a will and other related matters

Making a Will is one of the most fundamental aspects of estate planning, yet many people do not appreciate its importance. At Lawrence Grant we have experience in many aspects of estate planning, and can advise people in the Harrow area on strategies to help minimise the tax bill.

It is an essential means of ensuring that your assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes. You will thus be assured that you have made proper provision for all those you feel should benefit. And you choose the executors and trustees who will carry out your wishes.

It is also an opportunity to plan the distribution in a tax-efficient manner, particularly with regard to inheritance tax (IHT).

A Will can also appoint guardians of infant children, besides making appropriate financial provision for them.

The intestacy rules

In the absence of a Will, for a family with children, the new intestacy rules provide for the surviving spouse (or civil partner):

  • A statutory legacy of £250,000 (index linked)
  • The personal chattels (whatever their value)
  • One half of the residue of the estate outright

Any children are entitled to the other half of the residue in equal shares once they reach eighteen. If any children have already died, then their children will inherit in their parent's place.

If there are no children the surviving spouse receives the whole estate.

If there is no surviving spouse, the estate would be distributed amongst the children, or if there are no children, amongst the other relatives (there is a strict order of precedence). If there are no surviving relatives, the estate passes to the Crown!

Please note that different intestacy rules apply in Scotland - please contact us for further assistance.

Generation-skipping

If your children are sufficiently well provided for, you may consider providing for grandchildren, present and future.

This will ensure that property reaching the grandchildren will avoid at least one charge to IHT that would otherwise have arisen on the death of their parent(s).

Discretionary Will Trust

To preserve flexibility, you may consider leaving the decisions to trustees nominated by you. They can take into account the circumstances following your death, and allocate property in a fair and tax-efficient way.

The trustees will usually be guided by a (non-binding) letter of wishes.

Safe-keeping and review

Your signed Will should be lodged safely so that it can be readily retrieved after your death. All those who need to know should be told where it is.

It will also assist your executors greatly if you produce a data sheet, a simple summary of your financial affairs (see below).

You should review the contents of your Will regularly, particularly following significant tax changes or changes in your personal or family circumstances. You should also update your financial data sheet, preferably once a year.

Insurance policies

It is important that the proceeds of life policies should be written in trust for the benefit of named relatives rather than form part of your own estate.

Contents of financial data sheet

  • Location of Will and other personal documents
  • Funeral and other wishes
  • Details of executors, solicitor, accountant, bankers, etc.
  • Tax reference
  • Details of main assets
  • Details of mortgages and lenders
  • Details of other liabilities
  • Pension/insurance arrangements
  • IHT history – gifts in the last seven years

You can find out more about our Inheritance Tax service on our website. If you prefer, please fill in an enquiry form on the right and we’ll call you straight back and answer any questions you may have.

Follow us on Twitter

Sage Logo Xero Logo St Luke's Logo Meningitis Logo BNI Logo Geneva Group International ICAEW members in Harrow, Middlesex
Copyright

© 2018 Lawrence Grant. All rights reserved.

We use cookies on this website, you can find more information about cookies here.
Contact Us

Please call:
+44 (0)20 8861 7575

Quick links

Contact us | Website terms of use | Site map | Accessibility | Disclaimer | Help |

Address
2nd Floor, Hygeia House, 66 College Road, Harrow, Middlesex HA1 1BE

We are a member firm of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England & Wales (ICAEW). Registered to carry on audit work in the UK and Ireland. Our Insurer is Manchester Underwriting Management, Centennium Court/East St, Chesham HP5 1DG (worldwide, excluding North America). Also an independent member of GGI, a multidisciplinary worldwide association of accountants, tax consultants & solicitors.