If I have not made a Will who decides on the Guardians for my children?

Without nomination in a Will the courts will decide who, in their opinion, is best placed to care for any children until they attain 18 years – this may not be whom you want to be Guardians so a Will ensures your wishes are carried out.

At what age can children inherit an estate? What control do I have over this in my Will?

Children can inherit from the age of 18 years, until this age any monies are held in a Trust by the Trustees of your estate whom you nominate. In your Will, you can deem when your children receive any funds e.g you can state they could have a certain percentage at various ages of your choice. There are tax implications to be aware of and we will advise you accordingly based on your individual circumstances.

What happens if I die without a Will ('intestate') surely everything goes to my wife or Partner anyway?

Not necessarily, for example, an unmarried Partner is entitled to nothing and even a spouse is only entitled to an amount based on the current rules which we can explain in more detail.

How does Inheritance Tax affect me and when will it occur?

Under the current tax regulations, which are always subject to amendment, an individual has a tax-free allowance on death of £325,000 (less any gifts made in the preceding 7 years). Any transfer of assets between spouses or civil partners is completely free of IHT. On the second death, your beneficiaries are entitled to claim to £325,000 (£650,000 for you and your spouse) of your assets to pass across free of IHT (less any gifts made in the preceding 7 years).

Since April 5, 2017, certain individuals who qualify have been able to claim an additional allowance, this currently stands at £150,000. The new tax allowance will rise to £175,000 by 2020 – meaning an individual can pass on £500,000 and a couple can eventually expect to pass on £1m tax-free.

Only that part of the estate above these limits is subject to tax at 40% – this information is generic, based on the tax situation we understand. We are not tax professionals but can introduce you to qualified experts for further advice should you wish us to.

Why can I not just complete a DIY Will?

You can but there are significant risks involved should you not complete it correctly and an incorrectly worded Will could be open to challenge – in addition, if the Will is not attested correctly it could be deemed invalid – use a professional.

Can an Executor be a beneficiary too?

Most certainly and this is commonplace – we do however recommend you consider the use of professionals also and the advantages of this would be explained and discussed with you.

If I am married surely I can access my husband/wife'partner's assets without the need for a Lasting Power of Attorney?

Only if those assets are held jointly and as many people have assets in their own name if you do not have an LPA (Lasting Power of Attorney) or its predecessor an EPA (Enduring Power of Attorney) I am afraid you would need to apply to the Court of Protection which can cost anywhere between £2,500 – £3,000!