Everything you own at the date of your death – all property, personal and household possessions, vehicles, savings, shares etc. less any mortgages, debts etc.
The executor is the person or persons you choose to carry out your wishes set out in your will.
They have to be over 18 and someone you feel you can trust to follow your wishes in an organised way. For example you could choose a spouse, close relative or family friend, either alone or jointly with another person.
If you are concerned about the complexities in dealing with your estate then you can appoint Gard & Co. to act as a professional executor. This is particularly useful if you have a complicated or valuable estate, or perhaps your relatives do not get on with each other.
Your executors will have a number of specific duties. They must:
Gard & Co. are always willing to assist with the administration of the estate whether by doing small parts, like getting the grant of probate, or taking the whole responsibility of administering the estate off the executors.
you can, for example:
in fact, as long as it’s clearly understood and legal, you can put anything in!
If you marry after completing your will then the marriage will invalidate it. If you are planning to marry then a clause can be put in to stop the will becoming invalid. The same provision applies to entering into a civil partnership.
If you are getting divorced then it would be worth taking expert legal advice on the consequences. Your priorities on who should benefit may change after divorce. After the divorce, if you have appointed your former spouse as executor or made gifts to her, then these will all fail. The rules say that on divorce your will, if not altered, will read as if your former spouse had predeceased you. But until the divorce is final the will remains intact. The same provision applies to the dissolution of a civil partnership.
You can change your will as often as you like. Small changes can be made by what is called a codicil. For anything more significant a new will may be needed to avoid confusion.
If someone’s estate is worth more that £325,000 (the nil rate allowance – correct for financial year 2011/2012) then, unless certain exemptions apply, when they die there will be tax (currently 40%) to pay on anything above that sum. Anything below the figure passes free of tax.
Since October 2007 the surviving spouse or civil partner can benefit from a combined tax free sum (£650,000 for the financial year 2011/2012). Gifts made between spouses or civil partners are always free of inheritance tax, as are gifts to charities.
Gard & Co. offer specialist advice on estate planning including how to mitigate both tax and the risk of care home fees reducing the size of your estate.