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I am getting straight to the point here; my intention is to encourage you to read this short and very informative article. Alarmingly, most of us do put off making a Will for all sorts of reasons and even more of us have done nothing to protect our assets for our family?s future benefit. It is easy to do, so why not get on with it now?

If you die without a legally valid Will in place the law of intestacy will decide who gets your possessions. You might have something to say about that, but if you?ve already departed this world, it?ll be a bit too late for that. We all know that ?proper planning prevents poor performance? so avoiding the issue isn?t a good idea, we all know that really don?t we and by the way, making a Will is unlikely to bring on your demise, or at least I am unaware of any correlation between these two events, but don?t quote me!

?The simplest form of Will allows you to choose who will handle your affairs (your Executors), who will get your estate (your beneficiaries) and when they will get it (minors inheriting at 18, 21 or 25 for example). If you have children under 18 you?ll need to appoint legal guardians for them otherwise Social Services will happily allocate them in to foster care immediately after your death. Also don?t forget that for a charity to benefit from your estate, you will need to include a legacy clause in your Will.

Without a Will, the administration of your estate is very likely to cost more, take longer and leave your family with months of financial hardship and stress whilst someone, usually a solicitor or other professional tries to unravel things. Be careful who writes your will because some practitioners will include a charging clause and appoint themselves as an executor (in addition to whoever you choose), so that when it is signed and witnessed they?ll be able to charge their standard rates for probate after you have died and that could be expensive and reduce your family?s inheritance?

Having a basic Will in place is a very good starting point, however the reality of your own circumstances may mean that you are actually a little more complicated than that, so you should consider the implications of the following areas, and for the record this list is not exhaustive:

Inheritance tax doesn?t affect everyone, but if your estate is above the ?nil rate band allowance? (current tax year 2011/12 is ?325,000 per person) you may want to sit up, pay attention and plan ahead now to legally avoid it, it can be done!

?Long term care costs is a huge risk to us all particularly with a growing ageing population. If you need care at some point in the future and have assets in your own name above ?23,250 (2011/12 tax year) the Local Authority has the power to make you pay your own way, including a forced sale of the family home. It is effectively a 100% tax over this amount. Only if you plan early enough can you do something about this. Don?t leave it to chance, using a Trust can help protect it for future generations.

Probate costs (handling your affairs after death) are typically 2-3% of the total value of your estate, you?ll no doubt be able to work that out for yourself and give yourself an unpleasant shock. This is how much a probate practitioner is likely to make from your estate, your family will get the rest. Why not ask us how to avoid these charges completely?

Families of course can be quirky and create their own problems, whether it is due to a sideways disinheritance (your spouse remarries after your death, then dies and the new spouse gets it all so disinheriting the children from your first relationship), unreliable children who gamble, do drugs or simply fall out with you can all lead to problems with your Will. Talk to us because it is likely we can help you to unravel things and see the light.

Business property relief, where applicable and in conjunction with a discretionary trust clause in your Will, can allow you to pass on and preserve your Company in the most tax efficient way to whoever you want to own and run it.

All Willwriters are not the same so whoever you choose, make sure they are trained and qualified, insured and regulated by a Code of Practice for your protection. All members of theInstitute of Professional Willwriters meet these criteria and provide a first class, honest and ethical service at a reasonable cost.

?If you want to know more about Wills and Estate Planning, please contact us at or call 0116-2784862 for a free ?no obligation chat?. We’re always happy to help.

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