Creating a will lets you decide what happens to your property and other assets after your death. It allows you to control and direct how your estate is divided, and ensures that your loved ones are adequately provided for. It could also save time, money and stress for your loved ones when you are gone.

If you do not have a valid will when you die, your estate will be subject to the rules of intestacy, which may mean that your assets are not inherited by whom you would like them to be.

Our team can assist you by advising you on a tax efficient will – putting you back in control and ensuring that your life and afterlife wishes are actioned. We can also suggest local solicitors who could draft your will for you and work closely with them to ensure that your will reflects your wishes.

What are the rules of intestacy?

If someone dies with a valid will, their estate (after paying all debts and liabilities, including inheritance tax) will be distributed according to the terms of the will.

If someone dies without a valid will, there are strict rules which determine how their estate must be distributed (see the flowchart accessed via the link above). These rules do not make allowances for many modern family relationships, for example they make no provision for unmarried or unregistered partners. However, in these circumstances it may be possible for the surviving partner to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975.

Dying without a will could leave your spouse or partner in the position of having to sell your family home to pay for Inheritance Tax or other beneficiaries legally entitled to your estate. The Rules of Intestacy will prevail, and the distribution of your assets will be decided by legal guidelines devised in the 1920’s when family structures were very different. A valid will avoids this and with considered planning can maximise the benefits that your loved ones will receive, minimise the Inheritance Tax owed, prevent dilution of your assets and preserve wealth through the generations.

You should consider professional advice for your will if:

  • you want to protect family and loved ones after your death
  • you want to determine what happens to your assets when you die
  • you want to ensure that your wishes are robustly reflected so they cannot be challenged particularly those with more diverse family structures
  • you want to take advantage of opportunities to minimise Inheritance Tax

Speak to an adviser about structuring your Will

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