Without a Will, your estate will pass according to the rules of ‘intestacy’. These are rarely sufficient!
Making a Will has a great deal of benefits:
- Property: You can set out who should inherit your money and other assets.
- Inheritance tax: You can ensure your estate pays the minimum possible inheritance tax, for example by leaving your assets to certain beneficiaries. Find out more about Inheritance Tax planning here.
- Trusts: You can place some of your assets into protective wrappers called trusts so that no matter what happens, your choice of loved ones inherit at an appropriate time – and their inheritance is not lost to problems in their own lives such as creditors or divorce.
- Care fees: Your Will can be drafted in such a way that a large portion of your estate is legitimately protected from care fees. Find out more about avoiding care fees here.
- Guardians: You can choose guardians for your minor children, rather than leaving the choice of who will care for them to chance.
- Funeral wishes: You can set out your funeral wishes. Knowing what arrangements you would like can reduce the stress for loved ones.
- Pets: You can decide who should care for your pets and leave a gift of money for their upkeep, if you want to.
- Sentimental items: You can gift sentimental items to those who would appreciate them. These can be a great comfort to your loved ones at a difficult time.
- Cohabitees: You can make provision for cohabitees, who otherwise would not benefit under the rules of intestacy even if they have children with you (i.e. the rules which say how your estate is split up, if you did not make a Will).
- Charitable gifts: You can leave a gift to charity. If you want to make a substantial gift, you can include a formula that ensures your estate benefits from a lower rate of inheritance tax.
Dealing with the loss of a loved one can be extremely stressful. A Will provides reassurance for those left behind and a clear message that you cared about them enough to put your affairs in order.