Wills & Probate
Do I need a Will? Yes, if you want to ensure that your house, savings and other assets that you have worked hard for, pass to the people you want them to.
If you don't have a Will your assets will pass under the Rules of Intestacy. These rules are inflexible, so if you have a specific intention to provide for particular members of your family, friends or charity after your death, you really need to make a Will to ensure that this happens.
The Rules of Intestacy will dispose of your estate but will not take into account your individual circumstances or wishes. If you have a Will you can set out who you would like to receive your estate and the shares you would like each beneficiary to receive.
Executors are the people you choose to be responsible for sorting out your estate after you have died.
If you have children you should consider who you would like to look after them in the event of your death. This is particularly important if you are a single parent. Before appointing a guardian you must ensure that they will be happy to take on the role of bringing up your children.
There are two types of legacy. The first are gifts of money and the second are gifts of items.
This is everything that is left after your debts, funeral expenses and legacies have been paid. It is always a good idea to have at least two choices. For example, you might want everything to go to your partner if they are still alive (first choice) but if they have already died for it to go to your children, nephews and nieces, friends or charity (as a second choice).
You should consider whether you would like to be buried or cremated. If these directions are included in the Will, they are not legally binding but can be used as guidance by your Executors who are legally responsible for arranging your funeral.
Inheritance Tax Planning
With the exception of assets passing to a spouse, if your estate exceeds £325,000 (for tax year 2014/15) you will have to pay Inheritance Tax (IHT). IHT is charged at the rate of 40% on everything you have over this amount. This is a high rate of taxation and it may be possible by careful planning now to reduce or eliminate the liability for IHT.
How can Goodhand & Forsyth help?
Our qualified legal advisors are able to offer guidance throughout the process of making a Will. Having professional help to draw up your Will can avoid the problems associated with a home-made Will e.g. incorrect witnessing, poorly worded clauses or ambiguity. The cost of sorting out a person's estate where the Will is defective will far exceed the amount we will charge you for having a professionally drawn up Will.
Storage of your Will
We are happy to store the original of any Will we have prepared for you free of charge.
What are the benefits of using Goodhand & Forsyth?
Our lawyers have:
specialist legal qualifications
many years' experience
are approachable and sympathetic to your needs
All our work is insured
We are able to:
Talk to you about your wishes
Consider the needs of the people close to you to ensure that you make reasonable provision for them
Consider whether you ought to obtain independent advice on IHT planning
Send a draft Will to you to check over
See you to go through your Will and to act as your Witnesses when you sign
Store the original Will free of charge
Provide you with a copy to keep with your papers
If you wish to make an appointment or require further information please call us on 01737 854914