The main purpose of your Will is to gain control over who benefits from your Estate when you pass. Therefore, it is important to take consideration before choosing your beneficiaries.
If you have a Will, your residuary estate will be divided according to the clauses in the Will when you pass. Your residuary estate is everything you own after any debts, bills and taxes have been paid and after any specific gifts you include in your Will have been distributed.
Most married couples tend to leave the bulk of their residuary estate to their partner due to the shared responsibilities that accompany marriage. However, if you are a single parent you may wish to share your estate between your children. If your children are under the age of 18 your executors will hold on to their inheritance until they reach adulthood. Alternatively, you can choose to increase that age or attach conditions to the inheritance, such as obtaining a degree for example.
However, you may not want to leave your estate to your family for which there may be many reasons. However, it is important to remember that your estate will automatically go to certain members of your family if you fail to make a Will. If you do not wish to leave your estate to your family, you may wish to leave it to your charity of your choice.
Around a third of people choose to leave part or the whole of their residuary estate to one or more charities. Not only does this generous act provide essential resources to charities, but your estate will benefit from a tax deduction on the part of the estate gifted to a charity.
It must be mentioned that although you may write your Will according to your wishes, this does not always mean that those wishes fulfilled. If a family member or loved one believes that they should have received a share or more of a share of your residuary estate, they may be able to make a claim under the Inheritance Act 1975. Although this may be unavoidable, your solicitor will be able to advise you as to the best way of reducing the risk of such a claim being brought against your estate.
As such, it is important that you have a solicitor draft your Will to allow the most watertight Will possible. To speak to a solicitor regarding drafting a Will, please call Farleys’ experienced private client team on 0845 287 0939 or contact us by email.