Will To Win

Author:Mr Michael Fletcher
Profession:Lee Bolton & Lee

To many people, making a Will has overtones of mortality and imminent demise. Documents which begin, in heavy black Gothic lettering: "LAST Will and Testament" tend not to lift the gloom. Not until it has actually proved to be the last, however, should you consider a Will to be your final word on the subject. Making Wills is a sensible habit people should adopt early in their careers and they should review with their solicitors, at regular intervals probably not exceeding five years, whether their Wills continue to reflect their wishes and whether any new legislation may need to be considered. The advantages of dying with a Will, rather than without one, are probably clear enough (though even that can't be relied upon - the solicitor author of a once leading textbook on Wills managed to die intestate). Rarely, however, does the first Will prove also to be the last - we at Lee Bolton & Lee cannot readily call to mind the last occasion upon which a client left our offices having made their first Will and Testament, only to be knocked down by a bus in the street outside. Most are likely to live for many more years, regularly remaking their Wills - and we are here to ensure that they may do so with the utmost ease, efficiency and confidence.Many people assume that when you make a Will, you ensure that your express wishes relating to the disposition of your estate will be carried out. This is not, in fact, necessarily the case. As the law stands at present, a will can be rewritten by your executors and beneficiaries within two years of the date of your death. The normal reason for taking such a step is to save Inheritance Tax resulting from your (or sometimes your spouse's) death. In this way, it is possible to ensure, in a family context, that the benefit of the nil rate band (the tax-free portion of the estate, assets above which level being taxed at 40% unless given to a tax-exempt beneficiary such as a spouse or a charity) is not lost, thus saving, at current rates, over £96,000 in Inheritance Tax. However good an idea you may think this is, you may also wish to ensure, by wording your Will appropriately, that it should not be rewritten in any way.In recent years, the option to re-write Wills after death has come under threatened review by both political parties and the wise testator should not assume that it will necessarily be available for his executors to use in his own case. In any case, there are other ways of achieving a similar result. One such is...

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