Estate Planning

Protect Your Loved Ones

It may surprise you to know that it is estimated that nearly two-thirds of UK adults do not have a valid Will in place.

 

Even though the cost of a simple Will can be less than a good night out, around 28 million adults risk their home, money and other possessions not passing to chosen loved ones upon their death.

 

Without a Will, there is no guarantee that all of your estate will pass to your wife or husband and for unmarried partners the risks are considerably higher.

 

If you have children, would you want the Courts to decide who looks after them if you are not around to do so? Unless you have a Will naming guardians, there is a distinct possibility that this could happen.

 

If you are married and have children from a previous relationship, your children are at risk of receiving none of your estate unless you have a Will naming them as beneficiaries.

 

A Will can be as simple or complex as you wish and as your circumstances dictate. The important thing is to have a professionally drafted Will in place to protect those people who you care most about.

 

If you would like to protect the inheritance you leave from social impacts such as divorce, creditors and other third party threats, as well as providing next generation Inheritance Tax savings, you may wish to consider Lifetime Trust Planning.

 

Combined with a professionally drafted Will, the use of Beneficiary Protection Trusts could save £40,000 in tax for every £100,000 transferred to the Trusts.

 

Please click on the tabs below for brief descriptions of the different options that may be appropriate for you.

Types of Wills

Single Wills

Mirror Wills

Protective Trust Wills

Inheritance Tax Wills

Business Will

A straightforward document that outlines your wishes as to who will act as your executor(s) and how your Estate will be distributed. It also includes the very important nomination of who would act as the legal guardian(s) to your children, should both parents die before the children reach the age of majority.

A pair of single Wills that reflect the individual and joint wishes of a couple.

A pair of Wills for a couple who jointly own property. Everything within mirror Wills is covered, together with the provision for each partner’s share of the property to be left in Trust on first death, with the surviving partner being granted a lifetime interest to ensure their legal right to remain living in the property for as long as they wish. These types of Will are particularly useful to ensure fair distribution where there are children from previous relationships and to protect the family home from vulnerability to third party social threats in the future.

A pair of Wills for married couples whose joint estate exceeds the value of the nil rate band threshold for Inheritance Tax. Everything within mirror Wills is covered, together with the provision for an amount up to the  Inheritance Tax threshold to be placed into a discretionary Trust on first death. These types of Will are particularly useful in reducing a married couple’s exposure to Inheritance Tax upon second death and ensuring their children pay as little tax as possible on the inheritance from their parents.

A separate section of your Will, dealing solely with your business interests. A separate business executor can be appointed, in addition to the executor(s) for your personal estate, to take care of your business interests. People commonly name their accountant as their business executor and by doing this, they remove their personal executor(s) from the burden of dealing with the intricate business administration.

Use of Will Trusts

Children’s & Grandchildren’s Trust

Disabled Person's Trust

Discretionary Trust

These Trusts enable the inheritance for minor children to be managed by nominated Trustees until they reach an age of financial maturity. They also enable the Trustees to agree and manage payments to guardians for the upbringing of the children.

This Trust enables the inheritance for a disabled person to be managed by nominated Trustees if they are not capable of doing so themself. By remaining in the Trust, the inheritance does not form part of any means test for disabled benefits.

This Trust enables the inheritance for vulnerable beneficiaries to be managed by nominated Trustees and kept safe from, amongst other things, creditors and ex partners. It can also provide the beneficiaries with financial guidance and assistance. The inheritance can be managed by the Trustees for a specified time or indefinitely.

Lifetime Trust Planning

Having a Will is essential and in the main it simply directs assets to a beneficiary.  When gifting assets from the Will, those assets, be they cash, investments or property, become owned outright by the person that you gift them to. Those assets then form part of the recipient’s estate.

 

In many cases this can be exactly what is required. However, if the recipient were to divorce or separate, then their assets would be included in the divorce or separation financial settlement. Effectively, this would mean that the gift that you make to them would be used in the divorce or separation settlement, and that some part of the inheritance would be lost. If the recipient were to be made bankrupt, any inheritance that they had received would, likewise, be open to claim by the creditors.

 

There is also a second issue to take into consideration. When the inheritance from you is subsequently passed to the next generation, it would be assessed for liability to Inheritance Tax again and could be reduced by up to 40%.

 

Furthermore, most Wills do not deal with pension benefits or death in service benefits as they are generally paid direct to the spouse or partner. However, those benefits then immediately form part of the spouse’s or partner’s Estate and could be liable to up to 40% tax on their subsequent death.

 

By setting up Lifetime Trusts and directing assets into them via the Will, many of these issues can be overcome.

Other Services

Lasting Powers of Attorney

Pre-paid Funeral Plan

Secure Document Store

Who would manage your affairs should you become unable to do so due to an accident, stroke, dementia or serious illness? Who would sign cheques, documents and withdraw money from your account to pay the bills? Unless you have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place you may end up with your partner or children having to apply to the Court of Protection for permission to handle your affairs. As well as the costs of the Court application, once a Court Order has been issued there are on-going costs for the Court’s supervision. This difficult and expensive situation can be avoided by putting a Lasting Power of Attorney in place now, whilst you are able to do so. This allows for the appointment of someone of your choice to look after your financial affairs, without involvement of the Court, if you become incapacitated for any reason in the future. You can also set up a similar document to cover decisions about your health and welfare needs.

Many people take comfort in knowing that their funeral is paid for and will not be a burden that their children have to bear. You pay today’s price for a funeral (available at three different levels of service) and then forget about it. Whether you die in a year’s time or in twenty years, your funeral is paid for without your loved ones having to worry about finding money at a very distressing time. You receive a bond certificate, which is used as full payment for the funeral director’s fees at the time of your funeral. You may nominate a funeral director or you may prefer for the Funeral Planning Trust to do so on your behalf.

A lost Will amounts to the same as having no Will or dying intestate. Legal Services offers clients a secure document storage facility in conjunction with National Will Safe to guard against loss or damage. This service attracts a small annual fee and ensures you have the peace of mind in knowing that after taking the trouble to have your Will written, the original document is safe and secure and fully insured and can always be located without additional cost. You and your named executor will each receive a document ID card and you will be eligible for free Will reviews and updates in the future.

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