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Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning

Modern society is complex; with partnerships, second marriages and alternate lifestyles becoming more common-place, having a will and proper estate planning are more important than ever before.


Who do you trust enough to care for your children should the worst happen? It is a common misconception that Godparents or Grandparents will automatically take legal guardianship of orphaned children, but this is not the case.

In the event no provision has been made for guardianship, the Court will step in and decide who is best suited to raise your children, so it is vital you have named the people you would trust with their upbringing in a valid and legally recognised will.

Married Couples and Couples in Partnership

Many people make the mistake of assuming that their partner or spouse will automatically inherit their entire Estate, but this is not always the case. In some instances, particularly where no legal partnership or marriage exists, siblings, parents and other family members may have the right to claim possession of assets.

Up to 50% of current wills are outdated, for example by marriage or divorce, which could mean that the wrong people benefit in those cases. To ensure your current circumstances are have been considered, your will should be reviewed every three years as a matter of course.

Single Persons

Single people with no dependants often do not see the need for a will, but unless you have clearly outlined how you would like your assets to be divided, and to whom, your estate could fall into a legal limbo.

If you would like to leave bequests to friends, family or charities, it is important that you record these wishes in a valid and legally recognised will.


By retirement age many people will already have a will, but the likelihood is that it will need updating to account for changes in circumstance, the addition of grandchildren and many other factors.

If you have made arrangements in your will to look after your property, you could also protect this valuable asset from the assessment for paying care home fees.

Inheritance Tax Planning

Unfortunately there are many misconceptions about inheritance laws, and should you die Intestate (without a will), your surviving loved ones could find themselves dealing with complicated paperwork during an emotionally challenging time. Taking the time to write a will now is likely to make the situation for those you leave behind far easier.

Upon your death, the government requires that the executors of your will assess how much your estate is worth. If there is no valid will, they then determine who receives your possessions; including cash assets, investments, property and any businesses you own.

The Inheritance tax threshold is the amount everyone is permitted to leave to their beneficiaries before it is deemed taxable (this is called the nil-rate band); anything over this threshold is subject to a 40% tax. Currently the threshold is £325,000 (2013/14). Married couples are able to combine their allowances, making the first £650,000 of their estate tax-free. It should be noted that dual allowance does not apply for un-married couples.

Even if your assets fall below this figure it could be that life assurance policies or death-in service payments may create a liability for inheritance tax. Inheritance tax is a financial fact, so it makes sense to know how it will affect you. DPT can help you to plan ahead, ensuring your estate is Inheritance tax efficient.


Please note that we do not directly advise on this subject – business in this field is referred to our trusted supplier(s).


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