The Risks of Home-Made Wills
The Coronavirus pandemic has increased the demand for Will-making. Many people have also turned to home-made Wills without understanding the risks involved when getting your Will signed and witnessed.
Some countries such as Australia have passed emergency legislation to make it easier to sign Wills. There are no such changes in England and Wales and unfortunately signing your Will via Zoom or Skype does not satisfy the requirements for a valid Will under the Wills Act 1837.
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Can I write my own Will?
Anyone can write a Will however it must satisfy certain criteria in order for it to be valid. A valid Will must satisfy S9 of the Wills Act 1837.
Do we still need Nil Rate Band Discretionary Trusts in our Wills?
Every individual can gift up to what is known as the Nil Rate Band (which is currently £325,000) on their death before their estate becomes subject to Inheritance Tax. Any amount gifted in excess of the Nil Rate Band is taxed at the current rate of 40% unless passing to an exempt beneficiary such as a spouse or charity.
The importance of making a Will for unmarried couples
The number of cohabiting family households have doubled since 1997 yet there is no legislation in England and Wales that adequately protects such couples on death. Unmarried couples do not have the same rights as married couples especially when it comes to death and inheritance no matter how long you have been together.