Will your estate go to your chosen beneficiaries?

 In order to ensure that your estate is dispersed on your death in accordance with your wishes, you must have a current and correctly executed will in place. This is the only way of ensuring your property is passed to your intended beneficiaries.

Every year many people die intestate, which means they have not indicated how they intend their estate to be distributed – usually through a will. In these circumstances, the Rules of Intestacy apply and the estate will not always pass automatically to immediate family members.

The same issues arise where a will is not validly executed.

The consequences of having no will in place, or a will that is not validly executed, can be severe. The Rules of Intestacy do not any automatic inheritance rights to unmarried partners, the non-civilly partnered, relations by marriage, close friends and carers, all of whom would need to apply to court for financial provision from an estate.

Moreover, you may wish to leave specific items to particular friends or family members. Once again, without a correctly executed will in place, you will have no guarantee that your wishes will be adhered to.

It is also important to ensure that your will is up to date and reflects your current wishes. Beneficiaries may have died, new beneficiaries may have been born or your circumstances may have changed.

A related matter which you will need to take into account in ensuring that your estate is distributed in accordance with your wishes is Inheritance Tax (IHT).

The threshold for IHT is £325,000 for individuals and £650,000 for couples. This threshold also takes account of any gifts valued at £3,000 or more made in the seven years before death.  An additional nil rate band of £100,000 where a property is left to a direct descendent will be introduced in April 2017.

IHT is payable on any amount above the threshold at 40 per cent, unless ten per cent of the total estate is left to charity, in which case a 36 per cent rate applies.

For an estate valued at £425,000, IHT would be applied at 40 per cent on £100,000. This would mean a total liability of £40,000, leaving £385,000 to be divided between the beneficiaries of the estate.

For general advice on drafting your will and planning for IHT, please contact Ian West or Katie Ward at Carter Lemon Camerons LLP.

Wills and IHT planning is one of the topics of a forthcoming series of events that we will be holding at our offices at 10 Aldersgate Street:

Lease Extensions:

With interest rates currently very low, you may be considering whether it would be better to extend your lease or to invest in purchasing your own property.

Date:   29 September 2016

Time:   5.30pm to 7pm

Inheritance Tax and Wills

Inheritance Tax and Wills can have long-term consequences for your family. It is therefore vital to make plans that ensure that should the worst happen, your estate will be properly distributed in accordance with your wishes.

Our specialist solicitors will talk about the importance and advantages of making a Will as well as the essential points to consider around Inheritance Tax.

Date:   13 October 2016

Time:   5.30pm to 7pm

Alzheimer’s Society guest speaker on Lasting Powers of Attorney

Should you become incapacitated or unable to make clear decisions about your future, a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) will enable trusted friends or advisers to manage your financial affairs and make decisions about your health and welfare.

There are a number of points to consider in making an LPA and this presentation will provide an overview of the issues you may wish to think about.

Date:   29 October 2016

Time:   5.30pm to 7pm

To book:

To secure your place at these talks, please contact Lorraine King by calling 020 7406 1000 or by email at lorraineking@cartercamerons.com.