Your Will can also direct your business interests (such as shares in the family company) and farming interests to those intended, e.g. a son or daughter who has come into the business. An important IHT relief can apply to these interests giving discounts of either 100% (i.e. complete exemption) or 50%. Therefore, why pay a substantial tax bill when this can be reduced through careful drafting in a Will? Such business/ agricultural interests can often be dealt with through the discretionary will trust referred to.
To own your home or other asset as so called “joint tenants” is an inflexible method because the surviving co-owner automatically takes the whole. Therefore, a co-owner cannot during lifetime or by will give these assets to any other beneficiaries, for example to his children to utilise the nil-rate band. The solution: have the asset held as so called “Tenants in Common” and if the holding is already as joint tenants it can easily be severed by a relatively simple procedure.
Personal items such as jewellery, paintings and heirlooms can be dealt with in the Will and by reference to an informal letter of wishes. You can benefit good causes by leaving a legacy or share of your estate to charity, free of IHT.
The consequences of dying intestate (i.e. without having made a Will) can prove both complicated and expensive. At a stressful time for your family and friends such worry, complication and expense can be avoided through making a correct Will.
Even if you have already made a Will it is important to keep this under review at regular intervals (at least every five years). The world does not stand still and in particular your family circumstances and relevant taxation laws will change.
Remember also that in a two-year period following the death, the terms of a Will can be varied by an appropriate document entered into by the persons involved. This may, however, be prevented by changes in the law.
Having read the advantages of leaving a Will, can you afford not to make one?