One of the most important things you can do to help reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax you could be liable to pay is to write a Will. If you die without a Will, you are said to have died intestate. Your estate is distributed according to a pre-set formula and you have no say over who receives what and how much tax is payable. Dying intestate means that you may not be making the most of the Inheritance Tax exemption which exists if you wish your estate to pass to your spouse or registered civil partner. The distribution of the estate of a person that has died intestate are complex and very specific. There is no flexibility or discretion for their variation by the person dealing with the estate.
If you don't make a Will, then relatives other than your spouse or registered civil partner may be entitled to a share of your estate and this might trigger an Inheritance Tax liability. You also need to keep your Will up-to-date. Getting married, divorced or having children are all key times to review your Will.
Why you should make a will?
Unmarried couples inherit nothing from each other;
Your children can claim their inheritance as soon as they are 18 which you may feel is too young to take on such financial responsibility;
To protect your assets no matter what happens to your spouse or partner after you have gone – for example, if your spouse or partner remarries or goes into long-term care, your children’s inheritance may be all but lost;
If you own a business it can cause enormous difficulties if you die without a Will.
Step-children, who you may consider to be part of your family, inherit nothing;
If you have children under 18, you need to make a Will to appoint guardians to look after them if you are no longer around. Without appointed guardians, a court may decide where your children live and Social Services may take children into their care in the meantime;
To make gifts to charities or individuals, such as other family members, who are important to you. People will remember you for this long after you have gone;