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Will writing is an important endeavour for those who have specific wishes they would like to be fulfilled. There are many reasons Britons should write a will including for estate planning purposes, as well as making a situation easier for their family at a challenging time. Many people are unsure as to where they should begin with a will, believing it to be a complicated process. However, taking action sooner rather than later is important to protect a person’s loved ones.
How can Britons write their Will?
There are several options for people when it comes to organising and writing a will, and these are likely to suit different circumstances.
One option is to use a solicitor, which is a process advised for those who want a watertight arrangement.
This is because these individuals often have a complex and detailed understanding of issues such as estate and tax planning, which can be vital.
However, this option understandably comes with a financial burden, which could cost upwards of £150.
A will writing service could also be used with a variety of companies offering paid options, but these are usually cheaper than a solicitor.
A will writer may not necessarily be legally qualified, but the option is a popular one for those who want less responsibility.
Finally, people may opt to write and manage their will themselves, however, it is worth bearing in mind this option is not legally regulated.
Some may wish to use a will kit or template to help them, as the document must be valid – to ensure this, it should be signed, dated and witnessed.
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How can Britons reduce tax and charges for their loved ones?
Inheritance Tax (IHT) is often considered as a “death tax”, and is not well-liked by Britons generally.
It is paid on the estate – the property, money and possessions – of someone who has died.
The tax bill must be met by beneficiaries, namely an executor, and so reducing this is key to many Britons.
There is normally no IHT bill to pay if a person leaves everything above the £325,000 threshold to a spouse, civil partner, charity, or community amateur sports club.
In addition, if a person gives away their home to their children or grandchildren, their threshold can increase to £500,000.
And finally, if a person is married or in a civil partnership and their estate is worth less than their threshold, any unused threshold is able to be added to their partner’s threshold when they die.
This could mean a threshold can rise as high as £1million, which can be beneficial for those left behind.
What happens if Britons do not write a will?
If a person passes away without leaving a valid will, then they become known as an intestate person.
This can make a situation more complicated, as it means only married or civil partners, or very close relatives, can inherit.
If the estate is valued at more than £270,000, there are also rules to bear in mind.
Citizens Advice states the partner will inherit:
- all the personal property and belongings of the person who has died, and
- the first £270,000 of the estate, and
- half of the remaining estate
Unmarried partners will not be able to inherit from each other if a person dies without a will, and therefore this could cause serious financial problems.
Children can only inherit if there is no surviving married or civil partner, but if there is a surviving partner, they will be able to inherit only if the estate is worth more than £270,000.
Therefore, if a person has specific wishes about what happens to their money, property and possessions after they pass away, leaving a will is often the best way to ensure these are met.
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