will writing

No Will? Rules Changes From October 2014

Intestacy laws, those that govern where your estate will go if you die without a will, are being updated and come into force on the 1st October, 2014. Depending upon your circumstances, they will either have a dramatic affect on your estate (the money and property you leave behind) or will make almost no difference to you, but which? The new rules are from the Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Act 2014 (ITPA 2014) and include details of how your intestate (no valid last will and testament) estate is to be distributed and how Trustees will be able to distribute income and capital to the appropriate beneficiaries. The changes apply only to individuals who are domiciled in England and Wales, when they die, and do not apply to Scotland or Northern Ireland at this time. First; the intestacy rules Deceased, married, but without issue (children, grandchildren etc.) Current rules: spouse, civil partner, parents and siblings may all share New rules: spouse or civil partner inherit all absolutely Deceased, married, with children Current rules: spouse inherits all chattels absolutely, plus a life interest in possession in half of the statutory legacy (£250k) New rules: spouse inherits all of the personal movable property plus half of the statutory legacy (£250k) absolutely A life interest means that you get use of it during your lifetime, but are expected to pass it on when you die. Absolutely means you get it all now -without exception; completely; wholly; entirely. How ‘chattels’ will now be defined Personal items which are called personal property in law, replace the word ‘chattels’ and the old Administration of Estates Act, 1925. Here is the way in which the description will change: Current definition of ‘chattels’ carriages, horses, stable furniture and effects (not used for business purposes), motor cars and accessories (not used for business purposes), garden effects, domestic animals, plate, plated articles, linen, china, glass, books, pictures, prints, furniture, jewellery, articles of household or personal use or ornament, musical and scientific instruments and apparatus, wines, liquors and consumable stores, but do not include any chattels used at the death of the intestate for business purposes nor money or securities New definition of ‘chattels’ Tangible movable property, other than any such property which—consists of money or securities for money, or was used at the death of the intestate solely or mainly for business purposes, or was held at the death of the intestate solely as an...

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Direct Funds to Smaller Charities

Most of us know about the bigger charities, like The Arts Council, Cancer Research, MacMillan, and Oxfam, but how do more local and much smaller charities manage to further their goals? Local charities, mostly small charities, are defined as those who have a turnover of less than £1.5 million. For comparison, in their last published figures, Cancer Research had voluntary income of £363 million with legacy income from wills written at around £160 million. This shows why it is important for smaller charities to make inroads into society to ensure their current awareness is powerful and also how they go about planning for the future – by asking people to leave a legacy to the charity in an individual’s last will and testament. Small Charity Week helps promote the smaller charities by helping them temporarily join together to focus the needs to give to smaller charities by a week’s activities; running this week, June 16-20, 2014. From the Small Charity Week website: Cancer Research UK and MacMillan; global development groups Save the Children, Oxfam and the British Red Cross; and animal charities such as the RSPCA and the RSPB. Humans, birds and animals gather together in the top 10. Small Charity Week celebrates and raises awareness of the essential work of the UK’s small charity sector who make an invaluable contribution to the lives of millions of individuals, communities and causes across the UK and the rest of the world. Small Charity Week is brought to you by the Foundation for Social Improvement (FSI), who with the support of partner organisations ensure the work of small charities is recognised and celebrated. Do you know how to leave a legacy in your will to a smaller charity? It works the same way as leaving money to a large charity, with the important point being that you must have the charity’s official charity number and the relevant clause in your will, which allows the charity to change their name and address in the future, and still receive your legacy. 35% of the UK say they’d be happy to leave a small gift to charity once they’ve taken care of family and friends, so you’ll be surprised by how many people want to support a local or small charity with a legacy and not just rely on the bigger charities to take all of the funds available. Related articles Just 25% of us...

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Using Your Will to Leave Money to Charities.

Our UK Parliament has just completed a cross-party report, following the Growing Giving inquiry, creating an age of giving, where they are asking for money to be left to charities in your last will and testament. This is a matter of education and as it would appear that the majority of people do not leave money to charity in their will, although the UK is keen to give money to charity and help, support and volunteer to help charities. The report shows that people leave just over £2 billion to charities, in their wills, each year. This represents around 5% of UK charity’s total income. Nevertheless, just 6% of people leave money to a charity, even after the changes in inheritance tax in recent years. From HM Revenue and Customs website, it states; If your estate is worth over £325,000 when you die Inheritance Tax may be due. From 6 April 2012, if you leave 10 per cent of your estate to charity the tax due may be paid at a reduced rate of 36 per cent instead of 40 per cent. This may mean that by leaving money to charity from your last will and testament, you may leave more funds in your estate, after you have died. The Charities Aid Foundation is supporting the inquiry, which will hopefully lead to more people leaving a legacy to a charity in their will. At present, it is estimated that 2/3 of adults have not yet written a will. These figures increase rapidly for individuals aged under 50. There is a lack of awareness of being able to leave money to charities. When you are writing your will, this is the action that can benefit charities in the future. Related articles On the Money: The benefits of including a good cause in your...

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The Last Laugh, After Your Death

Spike Milligan, the legendary comedian, who kept us laughing while he was alive, had the last laugh when the inscription on his gravestone (in Gaelic) read “I told you I was ill.”  American comedian, David Brenner, who died in March, 2014, has gone one step further, by writing his final laugh lines into his last will and testament. His will has lines such as : “All I want is a small stone on the grave site with these words; ‘Here lies David Brenner. He lived, he died, but MAN DID HE LIVE!’ ” Of his gravestone: “On the flip side I want ‘If this is supposed to be a joke — I don’t get it.’ ” “I desire to be buried in or as close to New York City as possible, because this is the city of my dreams, my best times, my heart and my life.” “I request a very modest burial, no fancy box, no pillow (you think at a time like this I’m worried about a headache?), no special suit (jeans and nice shirt will be fine, but make sure my high-top sneakers are tied properly). “Place one hundred dollars in small bills in my left sock (just in case tipping is recommended where I’m going).” Under “Personal Farewell” he wrote, “To those who have been kind to me and have loved me, I thank you. To those who were not kind to me and didn’t love me, I hope you’re next!” Whether you choose to be as amusing with your last will and testament is your own choice and it would be wise to consider the feelings of those you leave behind when considering how they will receive any amusing messages that you choose in your Will writing...

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Estate Planning All Over the World

For many people, the words “estate planning” may conjure up thoughts of large inheritances and tax shelters. But planning “isn’t just about death and taxes; it’s also about what happens if you get very sick and live.” The Wall Street Journal informs its readers about ‘Four Estate-Planning Documents Everyone Should Have’ and that ‘Plans Aren’t Just About Inheritances and Tax Shelters.’ They go on to suggest that almost everyone would benefit from drawing up legal documents to protect  the living period of a person’s life (the only time you can be alive!) and with full estate planning, suggesting the need to look at Living Wills and Power of Attorney documents for both finances and health as well as the traditional planning via a Will. The reason people need these documents in the US of A is just as relevant in the UK, as they probably are, in most jurisdictions across the...

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