How do I make a Will?
We would advise you seek legal advice from a qualified Solicitor to make sure you have a legally binding Will. We also recommend that you choose a Solicitor who is also a qualified "Trusts and Estate Practitioner" (Known as a "STEP member"), meaning that the Solicitor has undertaken extra training and examinations in the field of Wills and Trusts.
How do I find a solicitor?
You can either ask your family, friends or colleagues if they can recommend a solicitor, or use your Yellow Pages to find a local solicitor. There are also lots of search engines you can find on line to give you contact details for solicitors, including http://www.willaid.org.uk/ (Will Aid will help you draw up a Will and instead of asking for a charge, will ask for a donation to a charity) and http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/.
How do I add a gift in my Will?
Including a gift in your Will is straightforward, although we do advise you always seek professional legal advice when preparing a Will. There are different methods of leaving a gift in a Will and a qualified solicitor can advise on the best sort of method for you.
Can I amend a current Will?
If you already have a current Will, and want to add a simple gift to BCT to it, you can add a Codicil, which will save you changing your entire Will. Again, we advise you to always seek professional advice when making any changes to your Will.
I don't have much money or any expensive possessions, is it worth me leaving a legacy?
You can leave anything in your Will, a painting, a car or a percentage of your estate. You don't have to leave a large amount, any amount gifted to BCT will make a difference.
What do I need to know about inheritance tax?
Each individual can give away £325,000 by Will without incurring inheritance tax (IHT). This is referred to as the nil rate band (NRB). Transfers between husbands and wives are free of IHT and IHT is generally only an issue when assets are passed down to children. Changes to the IHT rules in 2007 mean that on the second death of a married couple, the first spouse's unused NRB can be claimed so that up to £650,000 can pass IHT free. IHT in excess of the NRB is charged at 40%.
Gifts made to charities, whatever the size of the gift, are exempt from IHT and do not count towards a person's NRB.
When do I need to change my Will?
If your circumstances change, you should seek advice from your solicitor to see if the changes would affect your Will. For example,
- any changes in your marital or domestic circumstances (please note: if you get married, your Will is automatically revoked),
- a birth or death in the family,
- a serious illness effecting you or your family, or
- any changes to your assets such as receiving an inheritance or buying or selling a property.