Making your Will is probably something that you have been putting off for quite some time. I know I did, for years. I know the importance of making a will, but I was always too busy; it took COVID to galvanise me into action, and I can tell you it is a huge relief not to have to worry about this task anymore. Let’s face it, it is a task, and when you have children, grandchildren or elderly relatives to look after your own needs are often placed on the back burner.
So I thought I would give you some help to get started. When a client makes an appointment with us at Emmersons Solicitors, we send them a questionnaire in advance of the appointment. The point of this is to save time, you can give some thought to the questions asked, and you can gather together the information required.
However, it’s always better to have two, especially if you own your own home. The job of the Executor is to manage your estate after your death. It is a position that comes with a lot of responsibility; this includes working out taxes due, an Executor must send complex forms to the Inland Revenue stating that everything is correct. How do they know this, what if you gave away large sums of money which should be taken into account for Inheritance Tax purposes?
They have to make sure that all bills are paid, some accounts might be online, some bills come in annually. They must account to the Department of Work and pensions for any overpaid benefits.
An Executor is expected to undertake a huge amount of work. Do you want your family and friends to be lumbered with all that this would entail? Is it fair to appoint someone as Executor if they aren’t going to benefit from your estate?
Are they going to be running about for the benefit of people they might have never met, such as your cousins or your nieces and nephews?
Many of our clients appoint us as Executors. We then get on with everything. But how much does this cost you ask?
It very much depends, do you have all of your paperwork in order, or have you still got bills going back twenty years in your house. Have you listed all of your assets, including that old policy that you had forgotten about?
We can often actually make money for an estate by doing the job right, for example, cleaning a house out quickly so that there is no rotten food. Checking the property to avoid leaks, checking through all paperwork looking for old forgotten policies, clearing out a house and having it professionally cleaned and the garden done. If effort is put into this type of thing, then we can often obtain a far greater sale price. In one case recently we obtained £55,000 more than the original valuation.
This is important because it will help me to determine if you will need to pay inheritance tax if we can help you avoid paying so much and to plan ahead to leave money to your family instead of it all being spent on care home fees. I aim to find a balance between losing all of your money to care home fees and leaving you with enough to be able to afford a decent care home as opposed to an appalling one.
Why not look at this list which will help you, these are typical assets that make up an estate;
This is a very important issue. Many of our clients want to leave some of their estate to friends and neighbours. A typical situation may be that you have an estate worth £250,000, but you wish to leave £10,000 to your helpful neighbour. What if your estate is only worth £20,000 at the date of your death. If you have a spouse and two children, they are then likely to receive less money than your neighbour.
Also, if you have already made a will, please review it regularly. Frequently my clients go into care homes and never see their helpful and friendly neighbour again. I have had cases where a person has not been visited by beneficiaries for over four years. Is it time to change your beneficiaries?
In one very sad case, the beneficiaries said to me, oh, we thought he had died years ago.
When you have chosen your beneficiaries, please obtain their full names, dates of birth and full addresses with postcodes. It can be very difficult to track people down sometimes as they might move out of the area or even out of the country. At least if we have their date of birth, it narrows down the search.
Using the handy tips above means that you have done most of the hard work. If you would like to make a will, then please don’t hesitate to contact us. At the moment all appointments are by telephone, so you don’t even have to leave your house.
If you require any help or advice relating to a wills and probate then please don’t hesitate to contact our expert Wills and Probabte Team:
Wills Solicitors Newcastle: 0191 284 6989
Wills Solicitors Sunderland: 0191 567 6667
Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Complete our Online Enquiry Form
You can also park opposite our Sunderland Office on John Street.