The Complete Legal Service Based in Spennymoor and Ferryhill County Durham
Spennymoor: 01388-815317
Ferryhill: 01740-657444

Benefits of Making a Will

The Benefits of Making a Will

A large proportion of the population die without making a will.

A will may not add much to your intentions if:

  • You are married with children of whom you are both the parents
  • The house is in joint names and other assets are of limited value

In these circumstances not having a will may not be too much of a problem.  So long as the house is in joint names and the whole of the couple’s assets are worth no more than £285,000 (on current values) there will be no inheritance tax on either death. The property of the first to die will pass to the survivor and on the survivor’s death the whole of the joint assets will pass equally to the children.

Even here it may be better to make a will because:

It is a positive expression of benefit

Your children and other beneficiaries can feel assured that you have thought about them and care enough for them to have carried that into operation rather than leave it to chance and the general law.

Executors and trustees

You may want to appoint particular people that you have confidence in to act as executors and trustees rather than have those allotted by the general law.

Benefit to more remote beneficiaries

You may, either on first or second death, want to give some benefit to people other than your children and your spouse. For example jewellery to daughters, nieces or goddaughters, gifts to your favourite charity or church or small legacies or keepsakes to close friends.

Benefits for children under the age of 18

You may want to give a benefit to people who are currently under the age of 18. If you do this you may be happy with them getting the property when they reach 18, or you may wish to postpone them having control of those assets until they are older. In either case it is better to set up a trust with the terms that you want rather than the “one size fits all” provisions of the general law.

More complicated family situations

Not everybody’s family circumstances are straightforward. In some other situations making a will is essential to prevent your property going to people you don’t want to benefit.
There are many of these types of situations, including:

  • Where the people are involved in a second marriage
  • Where the parties to a relationship are unmarried
  • Where there are step-children
  • Where you are looking after someone other than a spouse or child who should not be left without support if you die

Larger Estates – Tax Planning

In larger estates, even if you feel that your wishes would be adequately carried out without a will it may be possible to use a will as a method of tax planning.

For example, if husband and wife both own assets worth £285,000 and the first to die leaves all his/her assets to the survivor the inheritance tax bill on the death of the survivor (on current figures) would be £114,000. If they were able each to leave their estates direct to the children without leaving it to the survivor there would be no tax at all.

Obviously saving of this magnitude may not always be possible, but it is worth giving some consideration to the extent to which this type of tax saving can be obtained. Making a will is the starting point to mitigating the tax liability.

Spennymoor Office

33 Cheapside,
County Durham,
DL16 6QF

tel: +44 (0) 1388 815317
fax: +44 (0) 1388 811605

Ferryhill Office

1 Parker Terrace,
County Durham,
DL17 8JY

tel: +44 (0) 1740 657444
fax: +44 (0) 1740 655533

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