Wills and inheritance tax is one aspect of a law that many people will experience at some point in their lives, and making a will is something that many people will try to put off. But in truth, getting your affairs in order is both sensible and advisable for your own peace of mind and that of the loved ones you may leave behind.
If you have left making a will until later in life and you are perhaps disabled or infirm, our offices in Abbey Road in Torquay have good access for wheelchair users if you would like to come to us. Alternatively, we can arrange to visit you in your home.
At Almy & Thomas we aim to ensure that the whole process of making your will is as straightforward and as quick as possible. We will take the pressure off you and we are here to guide and advise you at all times.
First of all we will meet with you to discuss your wishes and requirements. At this initial meeting we will also be able to advise you about legal fees.
Once we have met you and discussed your requirements and taken instructions from you we will then prepare a draft will for you. We will send this to you with a letter that will clearly explain everything about your will.
If you approve the draft and you are happy to proceed then the original will is drawn up for you and you will then be required to sign it.
In order to advise you, there is certain information that we will require from you. The details we require go a long way to ensuring that we are able to give you the advice and that you have a will which you are happy and comfortable with.
When we meet with you, some of the information we require from you is as follows:
Full name - and any alias' or pet name along with your full address including your postcode. Marital Status - It may be necessary for us to discuss the implications of your marital status on the preparation of the will, as divorce, marriage and entering into a civil partnership all affect wills. Children and Dependants – Children from former relationships, adopted children, children treated as children of the family. Are there any special needs to think about? Domicile – Non UK domicile is important when tax planning and devolution of the estate. Assets – Personal and Business assets, agricultural assets, insurances, assets situated abroad and benefits from trusts, whether jointly or solely owned. Are there any assets which do not form part of the estate? For example death in service benefits or an insurance written in trust. Have you loaned money that is to be repaid to the estate or is it a gift? All these assets need to be discussed to give you any relevant tax planning advice. Liabilities – will the estate be solvent? Are there liabilities to be repaid on death, and if so how? Will your house be a specific gift? If so how is the mortgage to be dealt with?
More and more Wills require inheritance tax planning. If the total of all of your assets amounts to over £325,000 (the current threshold for inheritance tax), then we would require a detailed list of your assets - as mentioned above - in order to advise you on ways you may be able to mitigate any liability to inheritance tax.
The Chancellor made an announcement on October 9, 2007, which changed the rules slightly with regard to the current threshold for inheritance tax. The current rules are favourable for married couples and civil partners, where one spouse dies and passes all of his or her assets to the other spouse - thereby not using up any of their nil rate band - the nil rate band of the survivor will be increased by the unused proportion of the nil rate band of the first person to pass. The survivor would therefore be left with a higher threshold for inheritance tax (up to £650,000) upon their demise.
It is possible that a Discretionary Trust may be the best way forward with your estate and the devolution of your assets. If you have sufficient assets you may set up a Trust (Settlement) during your lifetime or you may create Trusts within your Will. Due to the complex nature of the Trust and the variety of situations that they may cover there is too much information to provide a comprehensive guide on this website but please do not hesitate to contact us - see right hand panel.
If as a result of the advice concerning your Will, we need to take action concerning the legal title of your property to place the legal title in your names as Tenants in Common, then our property department will deal with this for you and their charges may be incorporated into the above account, but may be billed separately.
Severance of Joint Tenancy - £100 plus VAT. Alteration of House Deeds to allow home to be held "Tenancy in Common" - H M Land Registry Fee - £40.00.