8 reasons to make a Will

Making a Will is one of those things that’s easy to put off but could make life a lot simpler for the people you leave behind. Here are eight other reasons to make a Will.

1. Your possessions, your wishes

When you make a Will, you set out your wishes for who you'd like to receive your estate. If you die without one, your money and possessions that make up your estate, could end up with people you don’t want to have them, or even the state.

2. Think of the children

If you have young children when you die and don’t have a Will, the courts will decide who looks after them. It could end up being a family member or state-appointed guardian. A Will allows you to set out your wishes, so you can choose who you’d like to get custody.

3. Probate

In some cases a ‘Grant of Probate’ is required when a person dies. This is known as a ‘Certificate of Confirmation’ in Scotland. This is the legal document which allows a representative to deal with the estate.

Having a Will in place which documents your wishes and instructions could make this process quicker and easier, as an executor would already have been appointed. Without a Will anyone can apply and the Probate Registry Office will decide who to grant probate to, this could be someone you didn’t want.

4. Minimising the impact of inheritance tax

If your estate is likely to be affected by inheritance tax, there are a few ways you might be able to reduce the inheritance tax that could be due. Some of these can be applied when you make a Will. It can be complicated though, so it could be worth seeking professional help. At Skipton, we could help you with inheritance tax planning.

Inheritance tax planning explained

5. You can choose people you trust

An executor is the person who carries out the instructions as set out in your Will and their role may include paying off bills, sorting out credit cards and things like that. When you make a Will, you get to choose who your executor will be.

6. You can exclude people from your Will

You might have an ex-spouse who could be in the running to inherit some of your estate when you die. When you make a Will, you can express your wishes to exclude specific people from inheriting your things to help avoid scenarios like this.

7. Gifts and donations

If you leave a gift to charity in your Will, it will be exempt from inheritance tax. Gifting to charity can also lower the amount of inheritance tax on the rest of your estate from 40% to 36%, subject to certain conditions.

8. You can update it at any time

You can update your Will at any time, so if something changes in your life, you can ensure your Will still reflects your wishes. Smaller changes can be made by adding a codicil - sometimes these might be free of charge. For bigger changes it may be more appropriate to make a new Will to replace your existing Will, although this is likely to be more expensive than any charges for adding a codicil.

Important information

Some Inheritance Tax (IHT) planning solutions put your capital at risk so you may get back less than you originally invested. IHT thresholds depend on your individual circumstances and prevailing legislation, both of which may change in the future. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) do not regulate Will writing, Power of Attorney and most forms of IHT planning.

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