Making a will is the only way you can ensure your assets are inherited by those you wish to benefit. This month, Chaanah explains the importance of planning ahead…
I live alone in a property I own and I don’t have any children. How do I decide who to leave my assets to in my will? Can I bequeath my house to charity?
Whilst we can help you draft a will and advise on issues such as inheritance tax and lifetime giving, ultimately, who you want to inherit your assets to has to be your decision.
You may want to consider close relatives, friends or charities. Leaving money or property to the latter can reduce and in some circumstances, eliminate, any inheritance tax liability, as whatever you give to charity doesn’t count towards the total taxable value of your estate.
You can also cut the inheritance tax rate on the rest of your estate from 40% to 36% if you leave at least 10% of your net assets to charity. This is a slightly complex area of the law and we would want to talk you through how it works in respect of your individual circumstances.
The key point to note, however, is that if you die without making any kind of will at all, the government will decide who inherits your assets and relatives whom you have never met may be the ones who benefit.
My girlfriend and I are getting married soon. We have been told this invalidates wills we made two years ago. Is this correct?
Simply put, the answer is yes.
If you marry or enter into a civil partnership, any will you made previously is essentially null and void. If you were to die without making a new one, your estate would be distributed in accordance with the intestacy rules, which may not be how you would wish.
My advice would be to make new wills as soon as possible!
We had our first baby six months ago and we now really need to make wills. How do we ensure our child will inherit our assets?
When you make an appointment with me or one of my colleagues, we will assess your circumstances and advise you on the best way to structure your estate to provide for your children. We will also explain the importance of appointing the right executors, in the event something happens to you while they are still minors.
Guardians may be something you want to make provision for in your will. This allows you to choose who will bring up your children, should you die before they reach adulthood, giving you the peace of mind they will be with the people who love and care for them the most.
To find out more about any of the issues discussed here, don’t hesitate to contact me on (0114) 218 4000 or email email@example.com.