Articles

  • November 2018
    Is your will up to date?


    Whilst making a Will is important, it is equally important to ensure that it is regularly reviewed.  Many people do not realise that if they marry their Will is automatically revoked.  A Will can be made in contemplation of marriage but the Will should specify the parties to the marriage which should take place within a reasonable time period.  If a Will was completed some years ago, it may no longer be appropriate because beneficiaries have died.  In this case, it may now be a good opportunity to review the Will to ensure that the beneficiaries of your choice inherit a deceased’s beneficiary’s share.

    There have recently been a number of inheritance tax changes.  In the past, it was important that each spouse in a marriage made use of their individual inheritance tax allowances.  This often meant including a discretionary trust in the Wills.  However, now that allowances can be transferred between spouses such a provision may be inappropriate.

    Since April 2017, a Residence Nil Rate Band Allowance has been available to reduce inheritance tax if a person’s home is left directly to descendants.  The allowance is currently £125,000.00 and due to increase by £25,000.00 for each of the next two tax years.  The allowance can be transferred between spouses so that on the death of a surviving spouse a tax saving of £100,000.00 can be achieved if Wills are drafted appropriately.

    Recently there has been publicity for ‘bloodline Wills’ which can be used to ensure that only descendants can benefit.  Some of the claims for these Wills are exaggerated and, in many instances, liabilities to inheritance tax may arise.

    Trusts can easily be incorporated into Wills to restrict beneficiaries’ access to capital.  This may be useful in protecting assets should a beneficiary become bankrupt, divorce or move into a care home.  People who made Wills in the past, when they and their children were younger, should review them to ensure that they are still appropriate.

    If you wish to discuss your Will, please contact Carol Lockett by email at carol.lockett@jackamans.co.uk or call on 01394 279636 for a free Will review.

    This article provides only a general summary and is not intended to be comprehensive.  Special legal advice should be taken in any individual situation.

     

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