Being prepared can save you time and money

There are a lot of things to consider before you start to think about visiting a solicitor or a Will-writing. Some key things to keep in mind are below:

1. Estimate the value of your estate

Compile a list with an up-to-date value of everything you own (your assets) and another with all your debts (your liabilities). If your estate is worth more than the current threshold it could be liable to Inheritance Tax.

2. Decide who you want to include

You might decide to leave specific items to friends or family, a sum of money or maybe even a share of your estate.

3. Inheritance Tax

It's worth being aware that recent changes to Inheritance Tax (IHT) legislation mean that if you choose to leave over 10% of your estate to charity, then the rate of any IHT due (on any part of your estate where IHT is payable) would be reduced from 40% to 36%. If the value of your estate is over £325,000, use of this would enable you to leave a legacy to charity, whilst reducing the rate of IHT payable. It's worth speaking to a solicitor as this is quite an involved process.

4. Executors

Executors are responsible for administering your Will when you are gone. It's their duty to inform beneficiaries of their gifts, and to settle any debts you owe. They will also deal with the HMRC if needed.

It's important that whoever you choose to be your Executor/s that you have complete trust in them and that they understand the responsibility involved. You could choose a family member, a friend or even a professional such as an accountant or solicitor (bear in mind they would normally require payment from your estate).

5. Take essential information with you

Take a list of the full names and addresses of everyone you want to benefit from your Will.