We have joined forces with Chilcotts Law to offer a discounted will writing service for Tiny Tickers supporters. Here, Jo Taylor from Chilcotts Law, explains a bit more about writing a Will and the options open to you.
Death is a difficult subject. It is inevitable, yet not something we wish to think about or discuss. However, by sorting out your affairs now, means that you need not worry about what happens to your estate when you are no longer here. You also can have peace of mind that your assets are going to the people you want to have them, rather than the rules of intestacy deciding where they go.
For many, it can seem very straightforward – if you are married with young children, it is likely that you would want to leave everything to your spouse initially and then to the children upon death of the survivor.
However, for others things may be a little more complicated. If you have previously been married and/or have children from a previous marriage, as well as a current one, or perhaps a disabled dependant, then matters may not be as straightforward in terms of dividing your estate if you do not have a Will.
Nowadays, it is quite common for couples to co-habit rather than enter into marriage. However, many couples do not realise that if you don’t make a Will leaving your estate to your partner, if that is your wish, then the laws of intestacy apply. That means that your money and/or property could go to someone else – if you do not have children, that could be your parents, or even a sibling and your partner could be left with nothing – which isn’t a great thought if you have lived together for many years.
Currently, each person is entitled to £325,000 (known as the nil-rate band) before any inheritance tax is payable on their estate. Thereafter, anything over this threshold is taxed at 40%. However, married couples are entitled to “roll up” their nil-rate band, so that if they leave their estate to their spouse, no inheritance tax is immediately payable. Instead, the allowance increases to £650,000. Anything above this figure is then taxed on death of the survivor.
Having a Will in place can mean peace of mind when it comes to appointing guardians to look after your children. It may be the case that the guardians never have to take up their appointment. However, isn’t it better to know that should anything happen to you, your children will be looked after as you wished?
For some people, a straightforward Will may not be enough. That is when we ask “do you Trust it?” Placing assets into a Trust can seem a daunting prospect, but often it can be fairly simple to do if you instruct a solicitor to set it up on your behalf.
A Trust is simply a legal arrangement where there is a transfer of ownership of assets for the benefit and use of someone else. There are many different types of trust and they can offer a means of holding or managing money for people who may not be ready or able to manage it themselves.
Trusts are often used when parents want to ensure that their children are looked after if they are no longer here. Trusts can also be set up to look after disabled relatives that would be unable to manage the money or assets themselves. Therefore, by appointing Trustees to manage the money on their behalf, can provide you with peace of mind that your loved ones are being looked after in accordance with your wishes and directions, which you can also specify within your trust deed.
Certain types of Trust, such as a discretionary trust, will not be assessable for the purposes of means assessed benefits or statutory funding for care costs because the beneficiary only has a potential and not an actual interest. This means that if the beneficiary is entitled to and claiming benefits, the benefit derived from the trust will not affect their entitlement to claim benefits, or their financial assessment if they have to pay for care costs.
Nobody wants to think about death. So instead, think about the future of your loved ones and making sure that it is secure for them.
Jo Taylor, Solicitor