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Ten reasons to make a will

by Sable International | Jun 12, 2014
  • We are often told that we need a will, that to die without one would place financial and emotional strain on our loved ones. Yet one in every three people in the UK never take the time to write one.

    The big question is why?

    Why is it so important to formally announce who your assets should be passed to when common sense dictates that they should naturally pass on to your spouse or children? 

     If you die without a will, or if the homemade will you prepared is rejected, then you are considered to have died intestate. As such, your assets are subject to division by the crown in accordance with the Administration of Estates Act; 1925. Though the state has tried to make this as fair as possible, distribution under intestacy rules can create a less than desirable result.

    Where would your assets go?

    • If you are succeeded by your spouse and children, then everything under £250,000 goes to your spouse. The remainder is split 50/50 between your spouse and your children, with your spouse’s 50% belonging to him or her under lifetime interest. This means that the assets cannot be sold or spent, but that he or she can draw an income from it. When your spouse dies, the remaining half will be divided amongst the children. 
    • If you are succeeded by your spouse and do not have children, then everything under £450,000 will be given to him or her. The rest will be split equally between your parents and your spouse.
    • If you are succeeded by your spouse and do not have children or parents, then your entire estate will go to your spouse.
    • If you do not have a spouse or children, then your assets will go to your parents or, failing that, any other living relatives. If none can be found, then all of your wealth will go to the crown.

    If you read the above and still don’t feel the need to rush out and get that will drafted, then here are ten things that you might not have considered:

    1. You need to make provision for your children

    You know your family and friends better than the government does; if you don’t make a note of who you want to act as guardians for your children, your children may be left at the mercy of the state.

    2. Be prepared in case your spouse dies at the same time as you

    Most of us spend a lot, if not most, of our time with our better halves. If something happens to you, then it’s quite possible that something could happen to your spouse at the same time, leaving other family members with no clue as to your wishes.

    3. You can appoint an executor to administer your will

    Make sure that you have someone you trust in charge of handling the intentions of your will; this will ensure that your assets will end up in the hands of the people you care about. You can provide your executors with guidance to ensure that your will and motivations are properly understood by having a separate letter of wishes addressed to them. This might also be the perfect place to leave burial instructions and set aside money to cover costs.

    4. A professionally drafted will can protect your foreign investments

    If you have assets abroad, then a UK will might not have any bearing on what happens to them upon your death. With offices in London, Cape Town and Melbourne, we can put you in touch with lawyers to ensure that full consideration of all your assets is given, wherever situated.

    5. Charities

    If you want to leave anything to charity, you can make a note of it in your will. Aside from doing something wonderful for those in need, a donation of 10% or more of your estate will reduce any Inheritance Tax payable to 36%.

    6. Health care directives

    You have the option of writing up a health care directive in which you can state what your medical wishes might be in the event that you are rendered unable to communicate. This is where you can note whether you want to be resuscitated or how long you might want to be left on a respirator etc. Just don’t forget to make reference to this document in your will so that it is not overlooked.

    7. Inheritance Tax

    Inheritance Tax is payable at 40% on all of your estate over £325,000. If you are married or in a registered partnership, then you can avoid this tax by transferring your assets to your spouse, either during your lifetime or, with the aid of a will, when you die. It does not matter how much you pass on as long as your partner is a UK resident. Additionally, you will not have used any of your own nil-rate band, so when your spouse or civil partner dies, their estate can be worth up to £650,000 before Inheritance Tax becomes payable.

    8. You can decide who to pass your assets on to

    If you have step children or co-habitants, they will not benefit under intestacy rules. A will is the only way to ensure that they are looked after.

    9. You can set up a trust

    If you are fortunate enough to have a lot to leave to your loved ones, then a trust is a great way to provide for your family and friends for generations to come.

    10. You can prevent disputes among your family members

    Not only can you decide who is going to get what in your will, but you can make special provisions to prevent certain family members from disputing your will.

    Our fees

    At Sable Wills, we are able to provide you with a no-obligation quote for preparing your will. The cost of preparing a standard will or a tailored will includes an initial one-hour face-to-face consultation with our specialist Will Adviser, followed by telephone and email communications, and the drafting and witnessing of your will. 

    Our fees reflect the complexity of your will. The standard will provides for those wills that are relatively straight forward, whereas the tailored will provides for those circumstances that require a more detailed and comprehensive will.

    If you would like to discuss the drawing up of your will, please contact Sable Wills on +44 (0) 20 7759 5531 or

    We are a professional services company that specialises in cross-border financial and immigration advice and solutions.

    Our teams in the UK, South Africa and Australia can ensure that when you decide to move overseas, invest offshore or expand your business internationally, you’ll do so with the backing of experienced local experts.

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    Sable International is a trading name of 1st Contact Money Limited (company number 07070528), registered in England and Wales. We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK (FCA no. 517570), the Financial Services Conduct Authority in South Africa (1st Contact Money [PTY] Ltd - FSP no. 41900) and hold an Australian Financial Services Licence issued by ASIC to deal in foreign exchange (1st Contact Group - AFS Licence number 335 126).

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