Writing your Will

More than two thirds of people in the UK do not have a Will.

Without a Will, the Government decides on how your estate and money will be distributed, and unlikely to be as you wish. Making a Will is something we should all do. It protects your family, and those who depend on you, and ultimately reduces the distress to your family and friends at a difficult time. Writing a Will is very simple to do. After deciding on how your estate is to be distributed, you are strongly advised to seek professional assistance with writing a valid Will, by contacting either a solicitor or professional Will writer. Part of the process of writing a Will is to appoint executors (usually family or friends), so it is advisable to let your chosen executors know about the contents of your Will.

Using a solicitor

To find a solicitor in your local area and information on making a Will, visit The Law Society website or call their enquiry line on 020 7242 1222. Guidelines on making a Will can also be found on their website or you can download a leaflet, free of charge.

Using a Will Writer

Will writers are under less regulation than Solicitors. It is, therefore, very important that you check they belong to a professional body and follow a code of conduct. The Institute of Professional Will Writers can help you find a suitable will writer, if choose this option.

Types of Legacy - three main types:

  • Residuary legacy: A percentage of the remainder of your estate, once all other gifts have been distributed and outgoings deducted. This is the most valuable gift you can leave to The Children’s Trust, as it increases in value over time.
  • Pecuniary legacy: A fixed sum of money (the value of which can decrease over time, as the cost of living increases).
  • Specific legacy: A specific item such as a property, stocks and shares or a piece of jewellery.

Inheritance Tax (IHT)

IHT rules regularly change, to find out the latest guidelines and the current threshold, visit the HM Revenue and Customs or call the Inheritance Tax and Probate Helpline on 0300 123 1072 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm).

Tax Efficient Giving

Giving to charity can reduce the inheritance tax on your estate. The Institute of Fundraising publishes guidelines on tax efficient giving, so take a look at their website.

Updating an existing Will

A suggestion is every five years and particularly if a 'life-event' happens, like birth, death, marriage, separation. You can make minor amendments or changes to your Will by adding something called a Codicil. This is a simple procedure that your solicitor can assist with.

Get in touch

To find out more about leaving a gift in your Will, phone Mandy on 01737 365 081 or email legacies@thechildrenstrust.org.uk

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