Making a Will
The loss of a loved one is always a difficult and emotional time. One of the things which can make it easier for family and friends to deal with is an up-to-date, properly drafted Will.
As with everything we do at Whitehead Monckton, we handle matters relating to Wills and probate with sympathy, professionalism and the utmost discretion. When you have made a Will, you will have peace of mind knowing that you have not only made sure your assets will be divided up in accordance with your wishes after your death, but also that you have completed one of the most important ways of protecting your family's future.
The importance of a Will
Your Will can be a very powerful tool to help your loved ones:
- It can ease the difficult job of sorting your financial affairs after your death
- It can ensure your assets are left to the people you want to benefit
- It can protect your family by appointing guardians for your children
- It can save you and your family money
- It will give you peace of mind, a very valuable commodity
Your Will represents probably the “largest cheque” you will ever write during your lifetime, greater than cheques for a new house, car or investment.
Just as you take expert advice when buying a car, new house or investment plan, we believe it is even more important to take expert advice when considering your Will.
When you have made a Will, you can relax knowing that you have not only made sure your assets will be divided up in accordance with your wishes after your death but also that you have completed one of the most important ways of protecting your family's future. Succession planning can also be one of the best ways of reducing any Inheritance Tax which may be due on your death.
We will ensure that your Will is specific to you and will guide you through the process in a clear, practical and no-nonsense way.
If you don't have a Will
Without a valid Will, when you die your assets would be distributed under the Intestacy Rules. This sets out who should receive your assets which may therefore not be in line with your wishes. We have set out more details here to avoid this happening, you need to prepare a valid Will and we can help you with this.
If you already have a Will
Even if you already have a Will, we recommend that you review it at least every three to five years in order to take account of changes to your personal circumstances as well as any changes to tax arrangements. It may be you now have grandchildren or more than one property and may therefore want to change beneficiaries. With the recent changes to rules on Pension funds, you may be able to take advantage of this new approach to improve the tax efficiency of your future plans.
Succession Planning can be more than just making a Will. It can involve formulating a strategy to ensure that your assets pass to the right people, at the right time and that the right controls are in place when that happens. For tax planning purposes, you may wish to leave assets to your grandchildren, rather than your children, but with your children ultimately able to control the way the assets are handled. Through various mechanisms this can usually be achieved - hence why we are there to help you agree a strategy and then execute it within the constraints of the legal and tax frameworks.
Whitehead Monckton are experienced in advising our clients on the best way to pass on their assets, whether that be during their lifetime or on their death. We take the time to get to know our clients and their priorities.
The next set of questions will help you prioritise what is important to you and help us formulate a succession planning strategy appropriate to your needs and circumstances.
Next steps – “Service Selection Questions”
Selecting the right Will for your circumstances
1. Do you or your partner have children from a previous relationship or do you have financial responsibility for any other person, apart from your own minor children?
2. Are any of your intended beneficiaries disabled or vulnerable?
3. Do you have any of the following?
- foreign assets or foreign domicile?
- agricultural or business assets?
- interests under a trust?
4. Do you wish to impose any restrictions or control over any gifts you make in your wills other than specifying an age to inherit?
5. Do you require inheritance tax or capital gains tax advice?
6. Are you concerned about your estate being used up to pay care fees?
If all your answers are NO, then our Standard Will Arrangement may be appropriate for your circumstances. Please click here for our Standard Will Service, which will include a link to the appropriate Questionnaire.
If you only answered YES to having foreign assets or domicile then please see our information leaflet and contact us to discuss your requirements further, as you may require additional advice, not covered within the Standard Will Service.
But if you have answered YES to any of them, then our Succession Planning service may be more appropriate for you, with a range of bespoke Wills tailored to your specific circumstances. Please click here for our Succession Planning Service which will again have the link to the appropriate Questionnaire.
Many of our team are members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), ensuring specialist knowledge is available to you.