Page 80 - Marlborough Living May June 2019
P. 80

 making a will
Tish Hanifan from the Society of Later Life Advisors offers some useful advice...
 Was making a Will or revising an existing will one of your New Year’s resolution ?
If so did you actually do it?
Making a Will is something everyone agrees should do but for many reasons people actually don’t do it.
One reason may be that It forces you to think about your own mortality which is never easy.
Also deciding who to leave your property to means you have to consider difficult issues such as family dynamics and obligations as well as who you actually like ( or don’t!).
However, it is important to remember that if you don’t make a will the law will decide who inherits your property (estate). It may not be who you want or who you would expect!
If you die without a will then the Rules of Intestacy apply. The wife or partner will inherit everything if the estate is valued at £250,000k or less. If it is over more than 250K then if there are also children (or grandchildren) then the spouse or partner gets:-
All the personal property and belongings of the deceased person who has died. The first £250k and half of the remaining estate.
The rest of the estate will be divided equally between the children (or grandchildren).
If there are children from other relationships, they will be included in this definition.
You must still be married or in a civil partnership if not the rules will not apply and you will not have any entitlement.
People can make a claim if they aren’t included in your will but there are strict rules on who can do so set out in the Inheritance Act 1975.
The claim will ultimately be decided by a
court which can be costly and result in a delay in the assets being distributed.
Importantly, in relation to intestacy there is no such thing as a ‘common law’ husband or wife - despite this term being widely used when people cohabit.
It is clear therefore that making a Will is the best way to ensure that your assets are given to the people who you want to receive them. It isn’t just about money or property either as a Will gives you
the chance to leave personal items of sentimental value or family ‘heirlooms’ you wish to pass on through the generations.
Making a Will has other important benefits too:-
1. You can choose who will be your executors ( the people who deal with your estate and distribute your assets ).
2. You can write your will in a way that ensures you don’t unnecessarily pay Inheritance tax.
The threshold after which you pay this tax is £325k. There is no inheritance tax on assets which pass to spouses or partners and each can transfer their spouses or partners exemption to the other if they haven’t used it.
In addition to this there is also a new Residential Nil Rate band which is being phased in by 2020/2021 this will be another £175k.
There are rules about this too so if IHT is an issue then it really is best to get legal advice from specialist estate planners.

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