Pablo Picasso, Abraham Lincoln, Amy Winehouse and Robert Burns. Well known figures who all died without making a Will. 
 
Making a Will is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. But why is it so low on our priorities? 
 
Writing a Will means acknowledging our mortality. Our circumstances change throughout life and making decisions can be difficult. We worry about the cost attached, and fear that we have nothing of worth in our estate. 
 
If you haven’t taken the time to write yours, you’re certainly not alone. Over half of the UK population and almost four in ten over-50s haven’t made a Will. 
 
This means risking part or all of your estate going to people who you never intended to benefit. 
 
To help you get your affairs in order, here are some key points to consider. 
Invalid Wills 
 
It is easy and inexpensive to have a Will drafted by a qualified solicitor or Will writer. They will guide you through the process, ensuring everything is covered and arranged as you would like. 
 
Drawing up your own Will can be complex, and mistakes can render the Will invalid. It is possible to have it written online but remember that a Will is a tailored document and a website may not cater to your needs. 
 
Surviving spouse 
 
It’s worth bearing in mind amendments to the intestacy laws in October 2014. 
 
Under the new rules, if a person who is married or in a civil partnership dies and they have no children, the surviving spouse receives the whole estate. Previously a portion went to the deceased’s blood relatives. 
 
For couples with children, the surviving partner receives the first £250,000 plus half of the remainder of the estate, which originally reverted to the children when he or she died. The remaining assets are held for the children. 
 
In light of this, it is arguably more important than ever to make a Will and be clear about your final wishes. 
 
Another important consideration is the appointment of your Executors – the people who will deal with your estate in the event of your death. 
 
Ideally, these should be business-minded family or friends, or could be professional advisors. 
 
Lasting legacies 
 
After you’ve looked after family and friends, why not consider a cause close to your heart? 
 
74% of the UK population support charities and when asked, 35% of people say they’d happily leave a gift in their Will once family and friends had been provided for. The problem is only 7% actually do. 
 
It’s a common myth that only the rich and famous leave money to charity when they die. The reality is that without gifts left in Wills by people like you, many of the charities we support wouldn’t exist. 
 
There is no inheritance tax (40%) payable on charitable legacies. In addition, if you leave 10% or more of your estate to charity, your inheritance tax reduces to 36%. 
 
Every gift, however large or small, helps to ensure your favourite charity’s work can continue long into the future. 
Tagged as: Inheritance Tax, Wills
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