Wills: your questions answered.
Why should I make a Will?
A Will is the only way of making sure that your dependents are provided for in the way you wish after your death.
If you die without a Will a court will appoint administrators to deal with the distribution of everything you own (your estate). They won't know your wishes and you will have no control over how they divide your estate.
How do I know what to leave?
In order to decide what to leave, you must first value your estate. That means estimating the combined value of all your assets, including: your house and its contents; your car; jewellery and antiques; savings; investments and life insurance; business assets; and any money owed to you.
Once you have a total, deduct the value of the following: any money you owe; your mortgage; any overdrafts, loans, hire purchase agreements and credit cards. The figure you come to is the value of your estate.
Now you can draw up a list of everyone you wish to benefit from your Will, by how much and in what way - and decide whether you want to make a gift to Leo House.
Can my Will include arrangements for my funeral?
When your Will is drawn up you may also like to take the opportunity to incorporate any specific requests regarding your funeral arrangements. For instance, you may consider including a wish that donations are made to Leo House in lieu of flowers at your funeral.
All such gifts go directly towards providing care for local children in their own homes. Donations in-memoriam and in lieu of flowers are an important source of income for Leo House.
How can I be sure my Will is valid and accurate?
A Will is a legal document and trying to write your own can be difficult. One small mistake and it may be invalid. That's why it is always best to have your Will drawn up by an experienced solicitor.
How much will it cost me?
The cost of a straightforward Will is normally under £200. It will be worth every penny to ensure your instructions are followed and your loved ones - and the causes you believe in - are provided for as you wish.
Why would I need to update my Will?
Keeping your Will up to date is as important as making one. Your wishes, circumstance and family arrangements can change over the years - influenced by factors such as marriage and divorce, the birth of children and grandchildren or receiving an inheritance. Any of these events would make an updated Will essential.
Will my estate be subject to Inheritance Tax?
Yes, if the net value of your estate is over £325,000 (2013/14 figure), your loved ones will have to pay tax on the excess at a rate of 40%.
All gifts to charities are exempt from Inheritance Tax and the value of the estate is calculated after the value of such gifts have been deducted.
However, in the 2011 Budget, it was announced that for deaths occurring on or after 6
April 2012 a reduced rate of Inheritance Tax of 36% would be applied where 10% or more of an estate is left to charity.
For this purpose, the net estate is the value after deducting all debts and liabilities, IHT exemptions, relief and the nil rate band.
There may be other ways of reducing Inheritance Tax and we strongly advise that you speak to a solicitor or other financial advisor to discuss your personal circumstances and wishes.
Leo House can help you discuss your questions with one of our Leo friendly solicitors.
Please be assured that we respect your privacy. No information about our donors or supporters will be released to third parties other than for reclaiming tax or unless we are required to do so by force of law.