No one likes to think about it, but making sure you discuss your wishes for after you’ve gone with regards to the big things in your life is a very thoughtful act towards your loved ones.

You might assume they know your wishes, but unless you’ve discussed them in detail, or you have a will – your family are left second-guessing you at a time when they need as little to think about as possible.

If you own property, it’s all the more important to make sure you have a will. We’ve covered some of the basics in this blog:

What you need to know about writing a will
Basic Inheritance terms glossary
Further support for Property Inheritance

What you need to know about writing a will

We all know deep down we should have one, but who really wants to think about this stuff? As you can see from our top tips, writing a will needn’t be a difficult task, and it’s really important to do one if your circumstances are considered not to be completely straightforward. Remember to consider any debts which would need to be repaid before any of your beneficiaries are given anything, and that you would need somewhere safe to store this important document. You should tell your executor, a close friend or relative where your will is stored for ease.

What should your will have in it?

  • Who you want to benefit from your will
  • Who you want to look after children (under 18)·
  • Who you want to carry out your wishes after your death (known as an Executor)
  • What you want to happen if the people you name die before you

When should you get legal advice for a will?

If your circumstances aren’t straight-forward, seek legal advice. For example:

  • If you share a property with someone who is not your husband, wife or civil partner
  • You want to leave something to a dependant
  • You have several family members who may make a claim on your will, such as a second spouse or children from another marriage
  • Your permanent home is outside the UK
  • You have property overseas
  • You have a business

Property Inheritance Glossary

What does Probate mean?

This is the process you go through when someone has died. This is the time when all of their financial affairs are settled and all official paperwork to do with money, tax and assets are dealt with. If the person who has passed away has left a Will, it will name someone that they’ve chosen as their ‘personal representative’ known as the Executor.

In cases where there isn’t a will, someone will be named the administrator. Their role is to carry out the wishes of the deceased, collecting all assets, paying any liabilities and distributing the estate to the correct beneficiaries.

What does Estate mean?

In terms of probate, someone’s ‘estate’ is the total of assets. Sometimes confused as meaning simply the bricks and mortar property that someone has left behind, the term ‘Estate’ refers to their property, any money in bank accounts and their life insurance, minus any debts or tax that is owed. Once debts are covered, the estate can be divided amongst the beneficiaries named in the will.

What is Inheritance Tax?

This is the tax that you pay on someone’s ‘estate’ after they have died. There’s normally no Inheritance Tax to pay if either: The value of your estate is below the £325,000 threshold OR You leave everything above the £325,000 threshold to your spouse, civil partner, a charity or a community amateur sports club. Even if the estate is less that £325,000, you must still report it to HMRC.

If you are liable for inheritance tax, you’ll be charged 40% on everything OVER £325,000.

Further support for Property Inheritance

Inheritance tax can be very overwhelming, we can’t recommend The Money Advise Service more highly for simple, trusted, advice.

Read up on what happens if you don’t have a will, here

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