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information desk

info-deskThis page contains information you may find useful in regard to writing a Will. The information on our Will Writing page is included here along with additional important topics. The information covers questions we are often asked by clients and we hope it will answer some of your own questions. You are always welcome to call our helpline for further advice.

duties of executors

On the Will writing page we discussed choosing Executors but we didn’t take a close look at what they do or how difficult it might be. The complexity of the estate is likely to have a greater impact on that than the contents of the Will. The Will simply says who gets everything; it doesn’t define what “everything” is and nobody gets anything until the Executors have wound the estate up and obtained a Grant of Probate. So what “everything” turns out to be – the nature of the assets, where and how they are owned – is more likely to affect how involved the Executors job will be. For that reason we can only talk in fairly general terms.

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gifts and legacies

There may be people to whom you wish to give specific objects or sums of money. Or you may wish to leave money to charities or other organisations. If you wish to leave money to charity then you will need to be sure that the right charitable organisation is named. There are many charities that are very similar. If it is an organisation you already support you should obtain their charity number (it should be quoted on all official correspondence and other literature). We will be pleased to give any advice that may be needed and we always cross reference information with the Charity Commissioners database.

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inheritance tax

Inheritance tax (IHT) is one of the most despised taxes ever imposed. We all pay income tax when we earn money and value added tax when we spend what is left. Then, if at the end of our lives we have managed by a combination of ability, frugality and good fortune to have what the government considers too much left, a further 40% of everything over an arbitrary threshold is taken by the same people that already took more than we felt we could reasonably afford in the first place! Then, when what is left goes to the next generation, if those beneficiaries are also in the inheritance bracket, your money is going to be taxed at 40% again as part of their estate.

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care fees

Care fees do concern a great many people and it is easy to understand why. Many people are concerned about the possibility that they will go into care and that their family’s inheritance will be eaten up. The cap being placed on care fees has been delayed until 2020 and could, of course, be put back still further. The real problem about the proposed cap is that is will not provide the protection that many believe it will. This is because the cost of care is divided into the cost of providing the actual care and what are called the ‘hotel costs’ – this means the cost of providing accommodation, meals, laundry services, heating, etc., etc. There is no cap being placed on the ‘hotel costs’ only on the cost of providing the actual care.

Many fear that part of the cost of the actual care will be hidden in the ‘hotel costs’ and so the cap will be ‘got around’ by local authorities who are hard pressed to find the funds needed. This is obviously an important topic for many people. If care fees concern you please use the READ MORE link and call the helpline with any questions you have.

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if you have assets in europe please read this

You may not have heard of EU Regulation 650/2012 but if you are a UK citizen with assets in other parts of the EU then this Regulation (which came into effect in August 2015) is intended to ensure that they will pass under UK law.

However, unless your Will includes a specific wording the law of the country where the assets are held will dictate what happens when you die regardless of what your Will says. We take for granted the right to, within reason, leave our assets as we wish. In Europe the law dictates what happens even if there is a Will. But since the Regulation it is possible to put something in your Will that allows assets held in almost all of Europe to pass according to UK laws. We are pleased to arrange this in a Will for clients with assets in Europe. And it may surprise you that we do this without any additional charge.

If you have assets in continental Europe please use the READ MORE link below or call the helpline. Remember, it costs no extra to add this when we write your Will.

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appointing executors

Sometimes appointing Executors for a Will is an easy choice but sometimes it can be more difficult. You can appoint beneficiaries to be Executors (beneficiaries must not witness a Will but can be an Executor). A couple could appoint each other in the first instance and have others to be next in line. In certain circumstances it may be preferable to appoint a professional Executor to act either instead of or alongside lay Executors. If your Executors are not confident to do everything they can always use a professional to assist them and the costs will come from the estate. If you are uncertain who to appoint we shall be pleased to give advice as appropriate. Please use the READ MORE link below, watch the video or call the helpline.

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appointing guardians

Appointing Guardians is very important and it is a decision that some parents do struggle with. Some even put off making a Will because of it. In actual fact the appointment of a Guardian in a Will is only an expression of wish and it can be done in a separate letter. Difficulty in appointing a Guardian should not delay the writing of a Will because, if something does happen, it makes a bad situation even worse. It is still important to have Executors with authority to administer the estate and Trustees to look after the children’s inheritance. Guardianship can be settled later outside of the Will by equally effective means. For further information please use the READ MORE link, watch the video or call the helpline.

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appointing trustees

This is an area where people often get confused so do not hesitate to contact our helpline if that is the case. Executors wind up the estate and distribute everything according to the Will but once the estate is distributed the Executors have discharged their duties. If any assets may not be handed directly to a beneficiary for any reason – perhaps they are too young or there is a Trust in place – then the on-going control of those assets is given to Trustees. Having said that, Executors become the Trustees if no other provision is made in the Will. You may appoint different people to be Trustees to the people you appoint as Executors if that is appropriate. Anyone appointed must be at least 18 years of age of be capable of performing their duties.  Please use the READ MORE link for further information. You may also wish to watch the video or call the helpline.

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children from previous relationships

It is quite common for a couple to have children from a previous relationship. In those circumstances a standard family Will where everything goes to the current spouse/partner will not usually be appropriate as it could easily be detrimental to the interests of the children of the first to die. We are experienced in dealing with this type of situation and are happy to advise.

Without proper advice children from a previous relationship may lose their inheritance if you become the first to die. This can happen even if you both have Wills which leave a portion of your joint estate to those children at second death. For more information please use the READ MORE link, watch the video or just call the helpline.

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how can i make sure my estate passes to my children if my partner/spouse remarries?

This is very similar to the section on children from previous relationships. However, here we are talking about making certain arrangements in advance of the situation arising in order to bring certainty for the first to die. A Will with provisions for children to inherit at second death but which leaves everything to a spouse at first death does not offer absolute certainty.

Children can potentially lose their inheritance if their surviving parent remarries or has a new parter. This may not be a particular concern of yours but if it is please use the READ MORE link, watch the video or simply call the helpline.

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how can i protect my interests if i become unable to manage my affairs myself?

This, quite rightly, is an area of growing concern. Life is so much more complicated these days and one awful way to find out is when someone is unable, whether temporarily or permanently, to administer their own affairs. This might be through illness, injury or loss of mental capacity. There is only one sensible way to avoid the potential problems and you can discover more when you use the link below. Everyone should at least be aware of this important information. You can watch a short film shown originally on ‘The One Show’ and also obtain access to information that for some reason is rarely placed squarely before the public. You may, of course, also call the helpline.

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