Information required for drafting of a will
1. Have you an existing Will and if so please obtain a copy or let us have details of whereabouts of existing Will so that we can obtain a copy.
2. Your full legal name (i.e. that on your birth certificate) and any former names (i.e. maiden name in the case of married women or name changes).
3. Your full address including postcode and telephone number.
4. Your desired executors. These are the persons who will administer your estate, i.e. pay any debts and taxes due and transfer all your property to your beneficiaries (the persons who will inherit your property) according to the terms of your will.
The partners of this firm are able to act as executors and would prefer to act closely with a relative or friend willing to perform this task for you.
5. Name of spouse if any.
6. Names of children and dates of birth. If any are under the age of majority, i.e. under 18, there will be a trust until they do reach 18 or a specified age if later.
7. If you have very young children, please consider appointing guardians to look after the children until they can look after themselves, i.e. until they reach 18 years old.
8. It would help if you could let us have an idea of what your net assetsare worth, including house or flat less mortgage, add savings and investments, life policies, bank and building society accounts wherever in the world they may be.
9. These assets may be liable to Inheritance Taxwhich is levied at 40% after £263,000.00 (from 6 April, 2004) on your net estate. Gifts between husband and wife are exempt, i.e. without limit. There may be other reliefs depending on your personal situation, i.e. shares in a private company may qualify for Business Relief.
Beneficiaries, Legacies and the Residue
10. Your beneficiaries. These are persons intended to benefit from your will and may be left either:
(a) a specific gift or legacy (i.e. "my gold watch" or £1,000.00)
OR (b) a gift of " residue", i.e. that part of your estate that is left after all debts and taxes and all specific gifts and legacies have been paid out. This may be left as a whole, i.e. "everything to ***" or in proportions i.e. "divide my residue into three equal shares". It is the residue that pays any Inheritance Tax unless you specify otherwise.
IF either (a) or (b) are left to persons under 18 or a specified age if later, say “at 25 years old”, then there will be an automatic trust for them until they do. Your executors will then hold the property in trust as trustees and look after your money until the beneficiaries reach the specified age. Your Will will automatically be drafted to include trust clauses.
11. Do you have any joint property i.e. property owned together with someone else such as a house or flat, stocks and shares, insurance policies or bank accounts? If you do then please provide details such as a copy of your deeds as you may find that this property passes to your co-owner outside of your will. Be very careful about this.
Death in Service Benefits
12. If you have a company pension scheme, then please supply details of your "Death in Service Benefit" and whether or not you have made a nomination (direction as to payment) to your company Personnel or Human Resources department where your lump sum is to go.
Remember that in general any such death in service benefit passes outsideof your will and outside of your estate and is therefore tax free, hence an opportunity for tax planning!