Making a Will: the first steps
Solicitor and Head of Burnetts' Cockermouth Office Tracy Stainton explains how to take the first steps in making a will.
“That was painless”, “If I’d realised it would be that easy I would have made a will sooner” - comments from some clients after just making wills. Making a will is a straightforward process for most people and the difficult part is taking the first step to make that appointment.
My role is to ensure that your will reflects your wishes. The starting point is to understand your circumstances: who are you seeking to benefit from your estate; are there any people who you don’t want to see benefit; are there any special circumstances, for example, a disabled child, family dispute. Part of my role is to highlight options you may not have considered and any Inheritance tax implications.
A Will can ensure assets are transferred directly to a spouse or civil partner and this is often very tax efficient but you can also put assets in trust with the income for your loved one and the capital held for the benefit of your children or other family members.
For some protecting the family home is important and your will can be used to pass half the family home to children on first death but protecting the right of the survivor to remain in the family home during their lifetime.
Alternatively, the family home can be put into a Trust for the benefit of children but with the right for the parents to remain in the property during their lifetime. These options are not right for everyone and depend on your personal circumstances
From 6th April 2017 an additional IHT allowance comes into force relating to your property (Residence Nil Rate Band). The rules are not straightforward but we have put together a free guide to the new allowance for anyone who would like more information. The terms of your will can affect the ability to claim the allowance so it is advisable to review your will if you think your estate is likely to need the additional allowance.
For those without a will, I hope I have encouraged you to take that first step and make an appointment to discuss your will.
Tracy Stainton is based at the Cockermouth office. She offers free home visits for those unable to get into the office and late appointments for those with work commitments. For further information or for a copy of the free guide to Residence Nil Rate Band, contact 01900 510366 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
About the author
Senior Associate Solicitor Tracy is Head of Burnetts' Cockermouth office.