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Why make a Will?
Making a Will is the only sensible way to ensure that your money and assets are shared out according to your wishes.
It is important to remember that when you pass away there will be certain debts to be settled as well as assets to be shared out. These debts might typically include funeral expenses, household bills and taxes.
The benefits of making a Will
With a Will, you can decide how your Assets are shared out to your relatives, to friends, or perhaps to your favourite charity.
You can make sure your partner is provided for if you aren't married or in a civil partnership (as your partner will not inherit automatically).
If you're divorced or if your civil partnership has been dissolved, you can decide whether to leave anything to an ex-partner.
When you make a Will, you can appoint an Executor who will take responsibility for distributing your assets according to your wishes.
You can also make sure you don't have to pay more Inheritance Tax than necessary.
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Making a tax efficient Will
When writing your Will, you should consider Inheritance Tax and how to protect your money for future generations. There are ways to reduce the amount you will be eligible to pay, thus increasing the amount of your estate which can be distributed according to your wishes.
What is Inheritance Tax?
Inheritance Tax (IHT) is payable on the value of your estate (after you die). It is only payable over a certain amount (or "threshold").
It may be more tax-efficient to set up a trust within the terms of your will. A trust is a way of managing assets (money, investments, land or buildings) under a range of circumstances. There are different types of trusts and they are taxed differently.
Setting up a trust
Check out the Government website for further information relating to different types of trusts and their benefits.
If you already have a Will, you may wish to review it to ensure it reflects any changes to your situation or to inheritance laws. Tax reliefs and other matters referred to are those available under current legislation, but these may change, and their availability and value will depend on your individual circumstances.
Appointing an Executor
It's up to you who you appoint as an Executor of your estate. It could be an individual, family member or a professional such as a legal firm.
An executor must deal with legal, property, investment and tax issues relating to your assets and that may require specialist knowledge.
An Executor must also act impartially with all Beneficiaries - and offer confidentiality. Bear in mind that a close family member may not wish to perform this role, especially at a time of bereavement.