Wills and Probate Why make a Will?A will is a legally binding document that comes into effect once the will maker, known as the testator, has died. Until then the will can be revoked, amended or a new will made. Each new will revokes the previous one. In a will, the testator can chose who he or she wants to act as their executor to administer their estate when they die and to collect in the assets, pay the debts, funeral and testamentary expenses, pay any legacies and distribute the residue of the estate to the beneficiaries named in the will.
If a person dies without making a will, their estate will pass according to the laws of intestacy to the next of kin on the blood-line. That might not be what you want to happen to your estate when you die, or, you might want to give money or chattels, even property, to friends, non-family beneficiaries or to charity. You can make that choice or leave it to chance.
You can also decide the following in your will:
if you want to be buried or cremated. at what age any young or minor beneficiaries are entitled to receive their share of your estate If you want to leave money in trust for future generations to benefit If you want to allow someone to enjoy living in your home, or your share of it, during their lifetime before it passes to someone else when they die or no longer live there.
Once you make a will you should always keep it under review as and when circumstances change. We believe that everyone should make a will to ensure that their loved ones, family and important people in their life are provided for on death. If you want any further information or advice about wills or would like to make a will contact us below or call us on .If you already have a will and want to make any changes this can be done by making a codicil to it or making a new will altogether. we can discuss the options with you.
Inheritance Tax is payable at a flat rate of 40% on an estate valued above 325,000, known as the nil-rate band. If you leave everything to your spouse or civil partner , he or she is exempt from tax. Any unused nil-rate band from a deceased spouse's or civil partner's estate can be transferred on the second death. If you leave your home to lineal descendants, your children and grandchildren, and provided you have a qualifying residential interest, your estate also benefits from the Residence nil-rate band exemption of up to 100,000, 125,000 in the tax year 2018/19), which will increase in value in stages to 175,000 to 2020/21. Leaving part of your estate to charity can also reduce the effect of Inheritance Tax. Gifts to charity and political parties are exempt and if more than 10% of your estate is left to charity the nil-rate band on the chargeable estate is reduced to 36% of your estate.
There are many other ways to offset the effect of tax, including small gifts, annual exemptions, gifts from normal expenditure, lifetime gifts if you survive between 3 and 7 years, when they fall out of account altogether. Estate planning to leave your loved ones the full benefit of your estate is an essential part of our wills service. Call us on
01865 721 451 if you are considering making a will and ask to see one of our solicitors.
More information can be found directly from
Gov.Uk. The Downside of Not Making a Will
Not making a will is leaving things to chance and may not be what you want to happen. For some people it may not make any difference, but a will is your opportunity to ensure that your estate is distributed to the people you want it to go to. Not making proper provision for dependant relatives, or specifying why you are not making provision for them, may lead to a claim for reasonable financial provision from your estate after your death and to your estate being depleted by legal costs.
If there may be a dispute over the distribution of your estate , you have more chance of ensuring it is settled during your lifetime with a will in place than without.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
Should you become mentally incapable of managing your property and financial affairs during your lifetime your next of kin will have to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order, which can be a slow and expensive process and will involve the court in most decisions that can be made, unless you have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place.
This enables your next of kin to act immediately should you become mentally incapable of making decisions for yourself. It is advisable to have in place a Lasting Power of Attorney appointing an attorney or attorneys to act for you in your best interests should that ever happen. The Lasting Power of Attorney can be registered immediately and activated at a time of your choosing or when you become incapable of making decisions for yourself.
You may also want to make a Lasting Power of Attorney for you Health and Welfare should you become mentally incapable and unable to make decisions for yourself about the medical treatment you receive or when and in what circumstances medical treatment should be withdrawn.
We can discuss both forms of Lasting Power of Attorney with you and advise you on the best way forward for you. Call us for more information or to arrange an appointment with one of our solicitors on
01865 721 451 A Guide to Probate and Estate Administration
Probate is the legal process where a person dies leaving a valid will and the executor(s) named in a deceased's will apply for a grant of probate of the will which then gives them legal title to collect in the deceased's assets , to pay any debts, funeral and testamentary expenses and any legacies before distributing the remainder, or residue, of deceased person s estate to the beneficiaries named in the will. If a deceased person left no valid will then an intestacy arises on death and the deceased's next-of-kin entitled to apply for a grant of representation, called letters of administration, and once granted this gives title to administer the estate and distribute to the person(s) entitled to the estate or a share of it in accordance with a strict order of entitlement under the intestacy rules.
Learn more about wills and probate direct from Gov.Uk.
A trust is also another way of managing your assets either during your lifetime, or after your death, and is usually set up for your trustees to exercise their discretion on making payments of income or capital to your beneficiaries and to control the destination of family assets, when someone is too young to have the responsibility or when they are disabled or incapable of handling their affairs. They are often set up part of your tax and estate planning so your estate does not have to bear too much Inheritance Tax on death.
Learn more about trusts direct from Gov.Uk.
Challenor Gardiner have a wealth of experience dealing with probate and estate administration sympathetically and professionally. We can process with the forms and application for a grant on your behalf allowing you the time to grieve properly without worrying about the paperwork.
Get in Touch
To find out more about wills, trusts and probate with Challenor Gardiner call us on
01865 721 451.