Bryan & Co

Wills

A Will is a written document that expresses your wishes as to how you would like your Estate (property) to be distributed after your death. It is important that such a document is signed and witnessed in accordance with the Wills Act to ensure it is valid.

Up to 50% of the population of adults in the UK do not have a valid Will meaning that they will die intestate (without a valid will) and their Estate will be distributed in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy rather that in accordance with their own wishes – the Laws decide the distribution of your Estate rather than you. At an emotional time for families this can lead to even greater upset.

Once you have made the decision to make a Will you need to consider what is the purpose of your Will, what would you like to achieve by this.

Matters to Take Into Consideration

Assets

These consist of savings, investments and property owned by you. Make a list of these assets and values so that consideration can be given to inheritance tax planning.

Executors, Trustees and Guardians

Executors

Think carefully about who you choose to carry out the terms of your Will. Spouse/Partner/Adult children are obvious choices as is an impartial or professional Executor or even a mixture of them both. You need people you can trust as ultimately they will be in charge of your property and assets until distribution. Always worth checking with them that they would be happy to accept such an appointment.

Trustees

If minor (under the age of 18 years) are to benefit from your Estate then trustees will need to manage the inheritance until they reach the age at which they inherit, this can be greater than 18. You must ensure that these Trustees appreciate this could be a long term commitment if the children are very young and again someone you absolutely trust or a professional Executor.

Guardians

In your Will your can appoint Guardians to look after any infant children following your death.

Foreign Assets

If you own foreign property then you will need specific advice as it is likely you will need to make a foreign will.

Businesses

If you own a business then it is important you consider what will happen after your death, do you want the business to continue, who is to be in charge?

Who will benefit from your Estate

How you divide up your Estate in your Will is up to you but planning can sometimes help reduce inheritance tax so always worth a discussion. You can make pecuniary gifts (money) and/or specific gifts (property) or gift all your Estate to one or more persons.

Disputed Estates

Wills can sometimes be challenged so it is important to prepare and record a statement noting your reasons for not including certain people who may expect to receive a gift from your Will.

Tax & Estate Planning

Firstly we will get to know your personal circumstances and wishes and do our best to work with you to try and pass on your assets in the most efficient way.

We need to consider the whole value of your Estate and at the same time consider inheritance tax allowances and how best to utilise these to ensure efficient distribution of the Estate.

You should make a Will to ensure your Estate is distributed in accordance with your wishes.

We will discuss the terms of a Will with you, providing you with a draft and once approved we will arrange execution of the same. This needs to be done in accordance with the Wills Act otherwise it may not be valid. Once duly executed (signed) and witnessed we can keep the original here in storage for safe keeping.

If we can help with the preparation of your Will and/or Estate planning please contact us. Always keep your Will under review and if your circumstances change such as winning the lottery or the prior death of an Executor or beneficiary please get in touch.

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