Wills & Estate Planning

Estate Planning & Inheritance Tax

If you die without a Will, numerous delays and problems can arise regarding the distribution of your assets. Without a Will, the statutory Intestacy rules apply and determine who will inherit your wealth – which can seriously affect the position of a spouse or unmarried partner. Even if you do not believe you will have an inheritance tax problem, Estate planning is still a sensible process to go through. At the very least, it ensures that the correct people receive the assets that you eventually want to pass on.

The rules regarding inheritance tax were changed in October 2006 and so if you have not had your existing Will reviewed since that time, it is advised that you do so. Bluebond Tax Planning will do this for you as part of our advice process.

What is Estate Planning?

(3:32 minutes)

The problems with a basic Will

(10:22 minutes)

Disadvantages of a Will Trust

(9:26 minutes)

Is Estate planning more important than inheritance tax planning?

(20:49 minutes)

6 Estate planning actions you should take

(11:43 minutes)

What is probate?

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The problems with a basic Will

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Is the Will Trust the right solution for me?

It is unlikely.  A Will Trust may only be worthwhile if you think that your total assets will be under the Nil Rate Band (currently £325,000 – 2010/2011) on the death of the second person if you are married or in a civil partnership.
If you are wealthy retired, a small business owner, or part of the millionaire asset group with an asset base currently in excess of £1 million, we believe that you should seek professional experienced inheritance tax advice before proceeding with this option to see if it’s really right for you.  A simple Will can be limiting, for both you, your surviving spouse and your children, and will not make use of some large potential tax savings.

Why should I make a Will?

No one likes either talking or thinking about death. However, it is an inevitability that we all face and we would all like to make our passing easier for our surviving loved ones. To this end, everyone over the age of 18 years should make a Will and check periodically that it remains up to date and reflects their current situation.

I've already got a Will Trust written, do I need to do anything?

Yes.  You probably need to relook at your Will as laws around Will Trusts have altered.  If you made your Will prior to April 2007, then you definitely need to reassess it, ideally with the help of an experienced Adviser.
Please also take a look at your expected assets for the future.  If you think that when you (or both of you if you are married) die that your assets will be valued in excess of the current Nil Rate Band, or indeed, in excess of £1 million, then you really should consider alternative Lifetime Family Trusts. Good inheritance tax advice and tax advice as part of an overall financial plan are well worth looking into. An experienced inheritance tax Adviser is essential for this.

Why can't I just write my own Will and do my Estate planning myself?

You can if you choose to.  The question is, ‘is this sensible practice?’ – even if you are not part of the wealthy retired. If your Estate is likely to be valued (at a minimum), in excess of £50,000, then the relatively small amount it would cost to correctly write your Will is worthwhile to avoid any possible challenges by other people in the future.

What is an Executor?

Any person over 18 can be the Executor of the Will. When a person dies, the Executor is obliged to deal with their Estate ensuring that their Will, assuming they had one, is adhered to.
It is the Executor’s responsibility to make sure the deceased’s Estate is correctly valued for inheritance tax purposes and that any outstanding tax bill is paid. If there’s no will, or those named are unwilling or unable to fulfil the role,  a court may appoint an administrator in their place.
In England and Wales, an Executor can be held personally financially liable for any loss that a breach of their duty incurs, regardless of whether the error was inadvertent or intentional.
Executors are obliged to disclose all known information about the Estate of the deceased, typically income from bank accounts, liabilities from credit cards, utility bills and other outstanding debts.

What is Probate?

Probate is the term used when talking about applying for the right to deal with a deceased person’s affairs.  A grant of Probate is almost always needed when the person who dies leaves one or more of the following:

  • £5,000 of assets

  • Stocks or shares

  • Certain insurance policies

  • Property or land

Probate won’t be granted until some or all of any inheritance tax that is due on the Estate has been paid.
Instead of appointing a Solicitor as an Executor or Trustee, a charging clause would allow your Executors to employ a professional Solicitor or company to undertake those parts of the Probate process that they do not want to deal with, or have insufficient knowledge to deal with.  A charging clause will allow the Executors to take the charges of the Solicitor or company from the Estate rather than paying the fees themselves.

The information contained in this web site is for UK consumers only.  Like most firms of solicitors and accountants, Bluebond Tax Planning is not regulated by the FCA. The content of this website does not constitute FCA regulated financial advice and all content is provided for general information purposes only. Bluebond is not responsible for any action you may take as a result of information on this site. All advice will be delivered on a personal basis once we fully understand your situation and our client agreements have been signed.

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