Will Writing and Estate Planning

We Plan, You Relax

 

Call us FREE on: 
 0800 655 6091

We Plan Group has a division of authorised and registered solicitors who have already assisted thousands of customers. The most commonly requested service is Will writing. 

 

Why make a Will?

 

Who would look after your children if you died? This is important for one-parent families and unmarried couples. A Will nominating guardians is invaluable in such cases. Without it no-one knows what you wanted, and the Courts may decide the future of your children. 

Without a Will, the law decides what happens to your estate – and the outcome may not be as you intended. Only married or civil partners, as well as a few very close relatives, are able to claim inheritance under the rules of Intestacy. 

 

Don’t leave your family with months or years of financial hardship whilst they try and sort out your affairs:

• Your partner could be left nothing, or only part of everything you own leaving the rest subject to inheritance tax.

• Your children could inherit nothing if your home is sold to pay for the costs of long-term care.

• Your children could inherit the remainder of your estate with authority to enforce the sale of any part of it (including the home) to realise their inheritance. If they get divorced, their ex-spouses could claim part of your estate.

• You could end up giving HM Revenue & Customs money that could have gone to your family.

• If disputes arise, solicitors could end up charging large fees to your estate to sort them out.

 

 

Authorised and Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority

 

Will writing services in England & Wales are currently unregulated which means anyone can offer a Will writing service regardless of whether they are insured, experienced or legally qualified.

We Plan Legal provide legal services for We Plan Group. Wills are provided by Stephens Wilmot Limited (trading as We Plan Legal) who are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA number 635237) giving you peace of mind knowing that your will is being prepared by legal professionals.

 

If you don’t have a Will, Intestacy Rules apply


Married with Children

Spouse gets first £250,000 plus personal possessions plus half of the remaining assets.The children get the second half of the remaining assets.

Married without Children

Spouse gets the entire estate including personal possessions.

Single/Unmarried with children

All to children (or their children) at 18 or earlier

Single/Unmarried no children

To parents, then siblings, then their children at 18, then half-siblings, then their children at 18, then grandparents, then full uncles and aunts, then their children at 18, to half blood uncles and aunts, then their children at 18, then to the Crown. Partner gets nothing.



Problems with intestacy rules

 

• Delays of up to 2 years whilst processing an estate through intestacy are not unusual

• Unmarried partners are totally excluded

• Someone (usually a family court) decides who to appoint as guardians for your children – meanwhile, they are often made wards of court and put into care

• Someone (often a solicitor) has to look after the capital and income of the estate if a child is under 18

• Your children could get their inheritance at 18. Will they make responsible choices?

• Step-children inherit nothing

• The surviving spouse may not have full access to the capital

• Inheritance tax (IHT) may be payable on 1st death as the whole estate didn’t pass to the spouse

• The home may have to be sold to pay off the children or to pay IHT

• Jointly held assets pass automatically to survivor, BUT through the youngest co-owner’s estate on simultaneous death

• Family home not protected from claims by the Local Authority to pay for long-term care costs

 

If you already have a Will, does it cover these situations?

 

• Your surviving partner enters a new relationship or [re-]marries after your death

• Your surviving partner subsequently goes through a costly divorce settlement or separation

• Your beneficiaries become bankrupt and their creditors claim your estate

• Your surviving partner enters long-term care

• You have a disabled or vulnerable child who may lose their benefits or waste their inheritance

• Your estate is over the tax-free threshold, but you have failed to protect it from the tax man

• You have business assets and have failed to protect the tax relief on these

 



Protect your children’s inheritance

Contact We Plan Group to discuss a strategy to protect your assets and help your family. Planning a suitable strategy can enable you to leave a share or all of your estate to one or more trust (meaning that it is outside of your partner’s or family’s estate). This means that your surviving partner could benefit from the asset during their lifetime, and it cannot be claimed by the local authority or a creditor. 

You can continue to protect all or part of your estate for your beneficiaries whatever may happen after your death (or if you have a partner, before or after their death.) Taking the opportunity to ring-fence part of your estate with a trust is something you should do when drafting your Will.

 



Frequently Asked Questions



An Executor is someone with the legal authority to wind up your affairs after you die. You appoint an Executor/s when you make a will. An Executor's role is to - REGISTER THE DEATH: Arrange the funeral & inform all relevant organisations e.g. employers, utility companies, credit card companies, etc. ARRANGE A PROFESSIONAL EVALUATION OF ESTATE: This could include the house and its contents, investments, stocks and shares, life policies and all other personal goods. DRAW UP A LIST OF DEBTS THAT MUST BE PAID BY THE ESTATE - mortgages, loans, credit cards, etc. OPEN A PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVES BANK ACCOUNT: For money paid in to and out of the estate. PREPARE THE INHERITANCE TAX RETURN: The grant of probate cannot be issued until any IHT due is paid. If part of the estate needs to be sold to pay IHT, banks can arrange loan facilities so that the tax can be paid straight away. You must declare the value of the estate to HMRC within 6 months of death. APPLY FOR A GRANT OF PROBATE From the nearest probate registry once the paperwork has been collated. Once the Grant is obtained, this will give you legal authority over the estate. COLLECT ESTATE MONEY AND SETTLE DEBTS: Payment of the deceased’s tax and liabilities is your personal responsibility. UNDERTAKE BANKRUPTCY SEARCHES: You cannot distribute to a beneficiary who is bankrupt. DISTRIBUTE THE ESTATE: Pay all legacies in the Will. Set up any Will trusts. Set up a Deed or Appointment if a trust is to be disbanded. Pay residuary beneficiaries. COMPLETE INCOME TAX RETURNS For each beneficiary and estate income if the estate has accrued any income during the Probate phase. COMPILE ESTATE ACCOUNTS: Keep a full set of accounts showing the estate assets and liabilities, administration income and expenses and how the estate has been distributed.

A Trustee is a legal term for anyone in a position of trust and so can refer to any person who holds property, authority, or a position of trust or responsibility for the benefit of another. If you have been chosen as a Trustee, the settlor feels that you can be trusted to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries and can manage this important role if or when you may be required to act. Trustees are under a statutory duty of care (Section 1 Trustee Act 2000). This means that they must take reasonable skill and care when dealing with trust assets, and if there is ever any question as to whether they have exercised reasonable skill and care, the law will take into account any special knowledge that they may have. Decisions between all Trustees must be unanimous and where a trust is established to benefit a number of beneficiaries equally, the Trustees must not favour one beneficiary or type of beneficiary over another. Trustees are advised to seek professional advice when making investments. Trustees may delegate their duties of administration and investment to professionals if permitted by the trust deed, however, the overall responsibility will remain with the Trustees. The Trustees’ duties include - REGISTER THE TRUST ASSETS in the Trustees’ names. LIAISE WITH OTHER TRUSTEES to act in the best interest of the beneficiaries; INVEST THE TRUST FUNDS without making personal profit or causing loss to the trust. ACT IMPARTIALLY: Treating all classes of beneficiaries fairly in accordance with the terms of the trust and any letter of wishes that comes to their attention. HOLD ANNUAL TRUSTEE MEETINGS: Maintaining accurate accounts/records. COMPLETE ANNUAL TAX RETURNS: To HMRC on any income tax, capital gains tax and entry, exit and 10-yearly inheritance tax charges on the trust assets.

The duties of guardians are essentially the same as those of a parent and will include decisions about schooling and health as well as moral and social training. There will be financial, social and emotional implications, and these should be discussed with the parents before taking on the role. The terms of the Will should be such that the executors (and subsequently the trustees) can do all that is necessary to provide financial help to the guardians. While guardians have daily responsibility for the children, it is better for the financial control to be handled by someone different, normally the trustees of the estate. Through their appointed Trustees of their Wills, most parents will make financial arrangements for their children in the event of their death, but guardians may be able to claim child benefit and receive a guardian’s allowance if both parents are deceased. This means that appointed Trustees and Guardians can share potentially difficult decisions such as the provision of funds for the children’s upbringing and other capital expenditure before the youngest child attains 18. Trustees in this event are obligated to use available estate funds to provide for the maintenance, benefit and advancement of the children. Trustees and Guardians need to work together to resolve issues and agree to the reasonable expenditure of funds.


To speak to a friendly We Plan Group adviser to answer any questions you might have about any of our services.


Call us FREE on:
0800 655 6091