Types of wills and common issues
I write and advise on wills that are valid in both Scotland and the rest of the UK. I also have colleagues who can assist and advise on wills for the rest of the world.
Simple wills are exactly that. You decide who will get what and when they will get it, guardians for children under 16 years old (under Scottish Law) or 18 (in the rest of the UK), any special funeral requests and anything else that you may wish to clarify in writing.
If you have a partner, you can write mirror wills to leave your goods to the other if you should die first – and vice versa – in addition to sorting out the issues dealt with in simple wills as above.
Would you want the courts to decide who will raise your children? Recording your choice of guardians in your will helps to ensure your wishes are followed.
Trusts are simply more sophisticated ways of protecting money and other assets. In other circumstances, trusts can also protect someone who is too young or unable to deal with money, may suffer from an addiction or be easily misled by others.
Children’s and grandchildren’s trusts
In Scotland, children can inherit when they are 16 years of age. While some teenagers might be trusted with a sizable amount of money to spend as they wish without having to accept any guidance, not all of them can be!
Setting up a trust to hold their money until their twenty-fifth birthday means they can receive money for valid uses from the trustees, just as you would have given them if you’d been there, and protects the remainder for when they’re old enough to use it responsibly. Or would you prefer to leave their inheritance to chance?
Protective property trusts
Most of us have to work a long time to buy our home. It’s often the biggest single thing we ever own. But remarrying after a spouse or partner’s death could strip your children of their inheritance. Future care home fees, the biggest single fear of the majority of my clients, can also be addressed in a protective property trust to save at least half, if not the whole, home for your family.
Inheritance tax (IHT) discretionary trust wills
Clients often believe there is nothing they can do to protect themselves against IHT. This is not true. Previous Chancellors of the Exchequer have even gone on record stating that IHT is ‘the avoidable tax’, but that you have to make provision for it! Let me help you make that provision. With the correct planning you can make your affairs much more tax-efficient – rather than giving today’s, or tomorrow’s, Chancellor 40% of your exposed estate.
Disabled discretionary trusts
If you are the carer of a disabled relative, or parent of such a child, who would look after them if you died or were unable to continue caring for them after an accident or ill health? How can you protect funds that will enable them to be well cared for, or be able to afford those little extras that make a big difference to their quality of life? With the correct trusts in place, it can be done.
Home protection through a special asset trust
When there is only one person named on your title deeds, or where there are concerns over certain beneficiaries, there are very special asset trusts that can help. They are the most complex kinds of trusts and should only be used as a last resort or where necessary to fulfil your wishes. One example of how I have used these sorts of trusts in the past is the case of a retired client.
He was fearful of the financial situation of one of his children and the stability of the marriage of another, but he was adamant that he wished for his children to benefit from the entire estate at the right time. The whole family was brought into the discussion and fully understood and accepted why the special asset trust was the only way forward. If this type of situation sounds familiar, a special asset trust might be the way forward for you too.
Business Property Relief or Agricultural Property Relief
You may have a fledgling business, or one you have been building for years. With the right clauses in place, the majority of business owners can prevent 50-100% of their business being eligible for tax. Did you really work all those years to give a large proportion of your business to the government when you could have elected who gets it tax-free through your will?
This firm complies with the ISPW Code of Practice.