Tax Planning

When should you create or amend a will?


Louise Misiewicz

Tax Consultant

25th January 2018

Article relevant to the tax year 2017/18

Have you got a will in place in the event of your death?

Does it need updating?

We have written a few articles on the subject of creating a will. The first article we discussed the importance of a will as it tells the executor and your solicitors how you want the assets to be allocated on your death. You certainly do not want to die intestate whereby no one can say with certainty how the assets were to be districted, resulting in unnecessary time taken up going through probate or worse still, sorting out family disputes.

We also discussed in our previous article how executors of your will need to ensure that assets are distributed in accordance to the will. It will also provide them with a responsibility to pay any outstanding loans, mortgages and IHT liabilities.

Here are some scenarios that makes it beneficial for you to review and potentially amend your will.

    • If you marry or enter into a civil partnership after the date of your will, its terms will automatically be null and void (unless the will is made in contemplation of that marriage).
    • If you separate from your spouse or civil partner you are likely to want to alter your existing will.
    • Consideration should be made to updating your will on the birth of your first child.
    • Appointment of a guardian.
    • Children may no longer be minors and trust provisions may no longer be required.
    • Your Executor may have died, changed his/her name; or be unable or unwilling to act.
    • A beneficiary may have died, be going through a divorce or bankruptcy.
  • SECURING YOUR ASSETS (such as your home)
    • You may wish to include provision to ensure that your future needs and those of your dependants are adequately covered. For instance, it may be appropriate for a trust to be set up.
    • You may wish to undertake planning for care home costs. It may be useful to set up a Trust as part of an estate planning exercise – to benefit a surviving spouse or partner, a child or a disabled relative.
    • You should consider taking advice in the country concerned, including preparing a will there.


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    • If you sell, give away or lose an item specified in your will, the beneficiary may lose out.
    • Any change to the structure of business interests should be considered .
    • The provisions in your will may no longer reflect current tax law. You may have inherited money since making your will. This could have a significant impact on your estate so it may be useful to consider the distribution of your assets and review any potential liability to tax.
    • Certain family members or financial dependants may have a claim on your estate if they feel aggrieved by their inheritance or at being left out of your will.

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