Making a Will may seem like a daunting prospect; death is not the most jolly subject to think about. However, having a carefully drafted Will in place should give you the peace of mind that you have made appropriate arrangements for the loved ones you will leave behind.
Here are a few reasons why you should consider putting a Will in place:
- Controlling family inheritance - If you die without a valid Will, the intestacy rules will apply to divide your estate between your family, often with undesirable consequences.
- Protecting assets and providing for first and second families - A carefully drafted Will can ensure that a spouse or partner (or a second spouse/ partner) is looked after during their lifetime, but that the capital assets are ring fenced to pass to your children, rather than under your spouse or partner's Will.
- Appointing legal guardians for minors - To look after your children, if you die whilst they are under the age of 18.
- Choosing your executors - To have control over who is responsible for administering your estate.
- Complying with matrimonial arrangements - To make sure that provision for your spouse or ex-spouse complies with the terms of any pre or post-nuptial agreement or divorce order you are bound by.
- Setting up Trusts - Trusts can be created to hold your estate for your beneficiaries in the longer term, for example so that children do not inherit large sums at a young age.
- Tax efficiency - To make sure that your estate is as Inheritance Tax (IHT) efficient as possible, including taking advantage of the spouse exemption and relief from IHT available for business or agricultural assets.
- Structuring the devolution of business assets: To direct business interests in an appropriate manner, including taking advantage of all IHT reliefs. Consideration should be given to ensuring that your Will complies with any restrictions on the transfer of business interests (for example restrictions in the articles of a company on who can inherit shares).
- Bequeathing personal items - To leave personal items such as jewellery and heirlooms to specified beneficiaries.
- Benefitting charities -To benefit favourite charities and possibly to take advantage of a reduced rate of IHT for your other beneficiaries (36% instead of 40%).
Making a Will can give you reassurance that your estate will be dealt with by people you trust; will pass to your chosen beneficiaries and will help your family at a difficult time.