Your will is a great vehicle for securing your wealth for the next generation of your family. For this reason, many people only focus on money and assets when laying out details in their will. But as a result, you may overlook other elements that aren’t directly related to your money. So, here are five simple but important things that you may want to include in your will.
Sentimental items can often have more meaning than money and assets. Yet they can go by the wayside when making decisions on the future of your estate. The term 'sentimental item' is quite broad, but could include:
· family jewellery or other heirlooms
· artworks, including books and paintings.
Detailing who gets what can help avoid disputes between family members. For example, you might have informally promised to give a precious heirloom to one of your children (such as vintage grandfather clock). Yet, without anything in writing, other family members may feel they have a right to it, especially if it is particularly valuable.
You can help avoid the possibility of such disputes by specifying who will receive what in your will. Bear in mind that some sentimental items may also have significant monetary value, such as jewellery or paintings. In that case, your executors may include the value of these items when calculating your estate, which could be liable for Inheritance Tax (IHT). 'Gifting' certain personal belongings during your lifetime is one strategy that can help. Speak to an expert to find out more about how this works.
It’s important to plan for the worst-case scenario in your will. This includes the possibility that you die before your children legally become adults. So, it may be a sensible course of action to choose guardians for your children in case this happens.
Research from Will Aid shows that as many as one-third of parents haven’t done this. If you were to die without having done so, the courts will decide who’s best positioned to care for your children.
Detailing your children's guardians in your will, will secure your children’s future. That way, you’ll have the peace of mind that they’ll be well looked after in your absence.
For many people, their pets are as much a part of the family as their children. As well as making arrangements for your children, you should make sure there’s a plan in place for the future of your furry friend, too.
In the UK, we consider pets to be personal possessions. That means on your death, ownership will be automatically transferred to anyone you live with. If you live alone and haven’t left any instructions, it will be up to your executors to decide what will happen. If your executors happen to be less sympathetic to your pet, they may decide on a new home that you wouldn’t want for your little companion.
That’s why you should decide what will happen to your pet if you die, naming who will take ownership of them.
There are also many charities you can name in your will to this end. For example, the RSPCA’s Home for Life scheme. This scheme promises to care for your pet and try to find them another loving home when you die.
Including a charitable donation can be a great way to make a positive social difference when you die.
You could make charitable donations in your will to:
· registered UK charities
· religious organisations
· political parties
· sports clubs and similar non-profit societies.
Your gift could be money, an item, or whatever’s left after your beneficiaries receive their gifts from your will.
Charitable donations can also have valuable IHT benefits. Your net estate, does not include the amount left to a charitable organisation. This reduces the amount of taxable wealth you have for IHT purposes. HMRC will also reduce your rate of IHT from 40% to 36% if you leave at least 10% of your estate to charities and other similar organisations. This means a detailed will can help you to use your wealth to support causes that mean something to you and reduce your IHT liability.
You can set detailed instructions in your will for the kind of funeral you’d like to have, allowing you to choose a service that most suits you. You could even set aside money to pay for your funeral, as they can be expensive. For example, the government website MoneyHelper estimates the average cost of a cremation to be £3,290 or £4,383 for a burial.
Organising and paying for a funeral can be a burden for your family and emotionally draining. Consider alleviating this burden by leaving instructions and earmarking money in your will for this.
If you’d like to find out how we can help you plan your estate for later life, please contact us today.
Please note: This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only. The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate estate planning, tax planning or will writing. Your will is a great vehicle for securing your wealth for the next generation of your family. For this reason, many people only focus on money and assets when laying out details in their will. But as a result, you may overlook other elements that aren’t directly related to your money. So, here are five simple but important things that you may want to include in your will.
Book a free initial conversation with one of our friendly team.GET IN TOUCH