WHY MAKE A WILL?
There are many reasons why you should make a will, some
of which stem from the consequences of not making one!
• It shows family and friends that you care
about them and have thought about their future after they
• It provides certainty and peace
of mind both for you and those you leave behind.
• Your money and property is much more likely to
go to those whom you consider are deserving of it
• It limits the scope for potential unfortunate
and unseemly wrangling between dependants as to whom should
• Your estate is less likely to
be swallowed up in expensive litigation to determine who
should get what.
• If you have no family
or dependants and do not make a will (and die in testate)
your whole estate could go to the Duchy of Lancaster (the
WHAT DOES IT COST?
We charge £45.00 plus VAT for a single will; £80.00
plus VAT where instructed by a couple.
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WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU
DO NOT MAKE A WILL AND DIE INTESTATE?
• Your estate will pass under the Intestacy Rules.
This means that with a modest estate your spouse (if you
have one) will inherit most if not all your estate. This
may or may not accord with your wishes
You will lose the opportunity of making tax efficient
dispositions and your beneficiaries may have to pay have
to pay entirely avoidable inheritance tax on the value
of any of your estate over £255,00.00 (2003 values)
• In the absence of a will
expressing your wishes those disappointed under the Intestacy
Rules are more likely to make a challenge under the Inheritance
(Provision For Dependence’s) Act 1975, as it may
always be said that you would have left them something
but have simply forgotten them.
whom you had intended to benefit had you got round to
making a will (if they are not members of your immediate
family) may not benefit under the Intestacy Rules. The
Intestacy Rules do not benefit inter alia friends (even
life long friends) mistresses, lovers, cohabittees, charities
• Your estate is much more likely
to be squabbled over or contested and hence swallowed
up in legal costs
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THE TAX MAN MIGHT GET THE
Historically families of modest means did not pay inheritance
tax as the value of the exempt estate (the nil rate band)
was pitched at a level that took most estates out of the
inheritance tax net. Everything over the nil rate band
however was and is taxed at 40% of the market value of
the asset. The current value of the nil rate band as at
January 2004 is £255,000.00. however recent dramatic
increases in property values means that more and more
people are being drawn into the tax net as even a fairly
modest house at today’s values can be worth more
than £250,000.00 in many areas of the country. Unsurprisingly,
the chancellor has failed to increase the value of the
nil rate band in line with rising property values and
many beneficiaries therefore may find that a significant
chunk of their inheritance is grabbed by the tax man upon
their parents demise, if no tax efficient dispositions
are made during the testator's lifetime.
Very often in a typical family a simple change of the
wills of wife and husband of the family can result in
the tax exemption available being doubled to £510,000.00.
For details of this and other advice on ensuring your
money goes where you want it to go contact one of our
solicitors dealing with wills estates and probate on 0113
2438688 or click
here to complete the e mail enquiry form.
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CHALLENGES TO WILLS
Whilst a carefully drafted memorandum to a will can seek
to limit claims from disappointed beneficiaries, there
are other cases where clearly inadequate provision has
been made for dependants of the deceased and this appears
In these cases we can advise either the executors of the
estate or disappointed potential beneficiaries as to the
prospects of success for a claim under the Inheritance
(Provision for Aependants) Act 1975.
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PROBATE AND ADMINISTRATION
You may if you instruct us to draw your will (or even
if you have not) wish us to either act as your executors
or assist you with the winding up of an estate.
The death of a close family member is a traumatic event
and we have wide experience of handling such matters with
sensitivity and tact.
WHAT DO WE DO? WHAT
IS THE COST?
If we are acting as executors or advising as executors
the costs of administering the estate are generally paid
for out of the estate. Our charges (especially compared
with certain banks who typically charge 3 or 4% of the
value of the estate) are extremely competitive. We charge
a fee based on the time it takes to administer and wind
up the estate plus 1 ½ % of its value (all charges
are plus VAT and any necessary disbursements). We can
also act where no will has been executed.
We offer a free 30 minute initial consultation where advice
is sought in respect of the winding up of an estate.
Example 1 Typical costs
On an intestate estate value of £60,000.00 our costs
in taking all steps to wind up the estate and obtain a
letter of administration and account to beneficiaries
amounted to the sum of £1924.00 inclusive of vat.
Upon being instructed we will if required handle the funeral
arrangements, establish the beneficial entitlements, contact
potential beneficiaries, contact banks and other financial
institutions, advise the executor or executrix applied
for probate or letter of administration as appropriate,
get in the estate assets, advise as to any inheritance
tax liabilities, make arrangements to prepared Inland
Revenue accounts, if necessary serve statutory notices,
discharge estate liabilities and account to beneficiaries
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