Making A Will
Making a Will is something that many of us are likely to put off because we don't like to contemplate our own death. That's understandable but rather like closing our eyes when we cross the road because we don't want to see a car coming.
In actual fact, providing you are over 18, you are never too young to think about making a will, and if you do make a will, you will make life a lot easier for your loved ones after you are gone.
By making a Will you are ensuring that, on your death, your estate (your money, property, possessions, and everything else of any value that you leave behind) is divided up according your wishes, rather than according to the rules that apply if someone dies intestate.
Intestacy laws are very clear but probate can take months if you die without making a Will. Bank accounts are frozen at the very time when your loved ones are most vulnerable and short of money.
Making a will also provides opportunities to avoid or minimise inheritance tax - thus ensuring that you leave as much of your estate as possible to your nearest and dearest and as little as possible to the tax man.
Having paid tax all your life, do you really want to go on paying after your death?
There are three ways that you can go about making a will:
1. You can write it yourself but this is risky at best. If you don't follow the correct procedures your Will may end being invalid - and by the time the problems are discovered it will be too late for you to do anything about it. Solicitors make fortunes out of sorting out amateur wills written by someone who wanted to save a few pounds and may well end up costing his or her family thousands. Wills are not expensive, amateur wills can cost fortunes.
2. You can use an online will-writing service. This is a low cost way of doing things and can often be just as good as having a bespoke will professionally drafted by a solicitor or will-writer but they also come with risks.
3. You can use the services of a specialist will-writer or a solicitor. The costs will be slightly higher, but you can ask questions and have questions that you may not think to ask posed to you and therefore tailor your Will to exactly match your requirements. You will also have the reassurance that your Will has been properly drafted and checked for any problems that may render it invalid.
Making a Legacy Gift
It is very easy to include a legacy gift to a charity, such as Bedford School. You can do this by asking your adviser to include a gift as you draw up your Will. If you have already made your Will, then a gift can be written on an extra page - a codicil form - that is then kept with your Will documentation.
A legacy Gift to Bedford School needs to be made to one of the School’s charities – the most appropriate one is the Bedford School Foundation, Registered Charity Number 1095681.
All gifts (bequests) that you make in your Will are exempt from assessment for Inheritance Tax. This can save paying tax and be a substantial benefit to your estate and your inheritors. Bequests made to Bedford School Foundation would normally be deducted from the net financial value of your estate and so reduce the amount liable for Inheritance Tax. In this way you can ensure less of your money is passed to the Inland Revenue on your death.
You should discuss the full implications of making a Will with your legal advisor. The Bedford School Foundation will be pleased to provide names of Old Bedfordian solicitors who have agreed to provide an advisory service.
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