After a lifetime of saving and prudence, you may well have accumulated a great deal of personal financial wealth that will outlast you.
However, without a will to state who will benefit from your wealth, much of the hard work you have put in over the years might be lost.
Dying without a will (being intestate), can present your loved ones with all sorts of difficulties when it comes to dealing with your estate and it presents the tax man with an opportunity to extract wealth from your life savings.
This blog article is a quick guide to making a will and ensuring that your legacy goes to your loved ones as you intend.
A Will To Fit Your Circumstances
Leaving your wealth behind might not be quite as straight forward as you think.
Depending on your circumstances, your age, health and life expectancy and the number and age of your dependents, you might find you have to word your will specifically.
For example, if you have young children or grandchildren, you might want them to inherit your estate at a certain age, or you might stipulate that the money is used for something specific, such as university fees.
It might be that you want to appoint certain trustees or guardians in your will. This might be the solicitor who is drawing up the will or another legally recognised individual who can administer and distribute your estate.
Giving To Charity
If you are leaving an estate to others, you can give part (or all, if you want) of this away to charity.
The amount that you leave to charity will be deducted from your estate before the government calculates the amount of inheritance tax that is due.
If you leave at least ten percent of your estate to charity, the overall inheritance tax rate that is levied will decrease (though not if you take the option of deducting contributions from your estate first, as listed above).
Dying Without A Will
You should probably consider updating your will every five years or so. As your life circumstances, and that of your dependents, changes, your instructions on how to deal with your estate will change as well.
If you don’t have a will and pass away unexpectedly, a relative will have to apply for probate, the legal right to administer your estate.
There are legal processes that also decide who is legally entitled to what if you do die without a will.
Decisions made by the government might not match your own wishes, and they expose your estate to inheritance tax.
A will that is written by an inheritance expert can help avoid large portions of inheritance tax , simply by allocating money and property according to inheritance tax allowances. Anything left to your spouse or civil partner is inheritance tax exempt up to the value of £650,000 (if you both combine your allowances).
Having a will drawn up might cost in the region of £150-£250, but in the long run, it is worth an immense amount more in terms of peace of mind and the knowledge that your life’s savings will go to good use.
Leaving wealth behind is a way in which we leave something of ourselves to future generations and it can be more complex than it appears to be.