WILLS & TRUSTS

 

WILLS

While there are default rules of inheritance if you die without a will, there are many reasons why it is preferable to have a will, for example:

  • You can choose who will be the Executors and Trustees of your estate

  • If you have minor children, you can appoint testamentary guardians

  • You can leave specific gifts to family members, friends or charities

  • You can choose your residual beneficiaries and the amounts or assets that they will inherit, rather than being subject to the inflexible intestacy rules

  • It is possible to reduce or postpone inheritance tax in certain circumstances

  • You can establish trusts for specific beneficiaries, e.g. minor children or a disabled relative (see the section on Trusts below)

  • You can give directions about your funeral arrangements, e.g. burial or cremation

Our comprehensive, fixed fee will-writing service includes the following:

  • Taking detailed instructions either in person or via electronic means to ensure that we understand your individual circumstances and wishes fully

  • Preparation of a holding will in cases of urgency

  • Advising on which assets fall into your estate and which assets pass directly to third parties outside of the terms of the will

  • Advising on possible claims by dependants under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975

  • Inheritance tax advice, if applicable (see page on Estate Planning)

  • Advice on incorporating a trust or trusts into the will (see section on Trusts below)

  • Preparation of a draft will for discussion purposes

  • Making necessary amendments and producing the final version for signature

  • Ensuring that the will is correctly signed and witnessed

  • Arranging registration and/or storage of the will with a third-party repository

TRUSTS

Trusts are a popular and well-established vehicle for achieving certain aims, including:

  • Separating legal ownership from beneficial ownership to ensure that assets are preserved while providing income or use of assets for life or for a limited period to a beneficiary

  • Providing income or use of assets to a beneficiary who is not able to manage the trust assets, such as a minor child or a disabled person 

  • Charitable purposes

Essentially, legal ownership of assets is transferred to trustees who are obliged to manage the assets and pay over income in accordance with the trust deed.  Trusts can either be established during the lifetime of the donor/grantor (inter vivos trusts) or by will (testamentary trusts).  There are various different types of trusts such as life interest trusts and discretionary trusts.  

Trusts are complex legal instruments and require careful consideration.  We will advise on the advantages, disadvantages and legal effects of establishing a trust and the appointment of trustees.  We will incorporate a testamentary trust into a will or draw up an inter vivos trust deed as required.

Most trusts are now required to be registered with HMRC and there is a deadline of 1 September 2022 for registering trusts which fall into the wider registration net.  We can advise if registration is required and also do the registration on behalf of the trustees.