Funeral Directors UK Directory > Making A Will and Inheritance Tax Planning

Advice for Making a Will, including Inheritance Tax Planning

Read help and advice for making a will & Tax Planning....

Making A Will - Why should you have a legal will?

All of us should make a will. By making a will you decide what happens to your property and possessions after your die. UK law does not require that you make a will, but it is the best way to make sure your estate is passed on to your family and friends in a way that you wish. In the event of you die without making a will, everything that you own can be distributed in line with the law, rather than in a way that you would want.

Why is it important to make a will?

Your will sets out who will benefit after your death, from your property and personal possessions and this is referred to legally as your estate.

There are various benefits to having a will:

  • Your will let's you decide how your estate is to be shared - if you don't have a will, then the law will dictate who gets what from your estate.
  • If you're an unmarried couple (whether or not in a same sex relationship), you can make sure your partner is provided for.
  • If you are divorced, you choose whether to leave anything to your former partner, which is particularly important if there are young children.
  • Your will can make sure that you don't pay more Inheritance Tax than necessary.

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How to prepare your will

There is no legal reason why you cannot write a will yourself and there are many do it yourself will packs available from good book stores. Although this is an option, it is advisable to use a solicitor when making a will as there are various legal formalities you need to follow to make sure that your will is valid and if your estate is complicated and involves investments etc, a solicitor can also advise you about the best way to deal with potential inheritance tax issues that may affect you.

Solicitors are usually more than happy to visit you in your own home, care home or hospital to assist you with advice and making decisions, but they will generally make a charge for their time.

How much does it cost to make a will?

This can vary and the cost of using the services of a solicitor will depend on how complicated your personal affairs are, but can be an expense that is well worth paying for if your estate is a complicated one.

In addition to using a solicitor to write your will, various organisations like the Citizens Advice Bureau and Age Concern will also provide help and guidance with making a will. If you live in Scotland, then Help the Aged can you help with preparing a will.

The links below will help you:

* CAB guide to making a will.

* Age Concern factsheet to making your will.

* Help the Aged - How to Make a Will.

What should I include in my will?

When considering what you should include in your will, it is a good idea to write a list of everything that you own, including property, investments, individual items of high value and sentimental personal belongings that you wish to pass on to a specific person.

Here are some examples of things that you need to consider:

  • How much money, property and possessions you have.
  • Who do you want to benefit from your will (The beneficiaries)?
  • Who should look after your children if they are under 18 years of age?
  • Who is going to sort out your estate and carry out your wishes after your death (The executors)?

A beneficiary is a person who is going to benefit from some or all of your estate.

An executor is a person who is going to be responsible for dealing with your estate. Your executors are named in your will and it normally a good idea to inform the person at the time of making your will, so that they know in the event of your death, that it is their responsibility to deal with the execution of your will.

Where should I keep my will?

Having completed your will, either by yourself or with the assistance of a solicitor, it is vitally important that you keep it in a safe place and tell your executor, close friend or relative where it is. If a solicitor makes your will for you, then they will normally keep the original and send you a copy for your records.

What about keeping my will up-to-date?

It is good practice to review your will as and when life's journey changes your situation. It is sensible to conduct a review at least every five years, but circumstances in your life - such as getting separated, married or divorced, having a child or moving house may mean that you need to consider changes to your will. Any change must be by 'codicil' (The legal terms for an addition, amendment or supplement to a will) or by making a new will.

Making a will in Scotland

Scottish law on inheritance differs from English law. If you live in Scotland and want to make a will, you can contact a solicitor or voluntary organisations such as Age Concern Scotland or Citizens Advice Bureau for will advice.

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Contact us for advice, help & information on any topic that we may not have covered within this website, but you require help with. Our aim is to ease your burden when dealing with grief and we aim to either provide you with the information that you require or to point you in the right direction to get the help that you need.

Here are some links to recommended useful websites:

UK Florists Online | Making A Will | Bereavement Advice Centre | Samaritans | Cruse Bereavement Care | More Useful Websites and Organisations

The Funeral Directors Directory can help you to locate funeral directors throughout the UK who can help you to arrange all types of funerals and prepaid funeral plans. The funeral types available can include:

  • Traditional Funeral Services - These services typically include One or more "visitations" where the mourners gather, with the body present to express condolences.
  • Memorial Services to commemorate the life of the deceased without them being present. These are usually following burial or cremation, or if the body has not been recovered (e.g - lost at sea).
  • Combined Traditional and Memorial Services - a visitation and a service with the body present, as well as a memorial service without the body present to commemorate a life.
  • Graveside Services - Sometimes commemorative services are held at the cemetery, either in a chapel or beside the grave, immediately prior to burial.