Following COVID, the UK has seen a dramatic spike in the amount of people turning to the DIY option in order to put a will in place. Given the rules of lockdown, and feelings of vulnerability in the population, this comes as no surprise as people make every effort to put arrangements in place for their loved ones should the worst happen.
However, experts are warning against being too heavily reliant on DIY wills as they can leave plenty of room for error and are more of a form filling exercise rather than a watertight legal document. The other glaring issue with a DIY will is that it often fails to make proper provision for inheritance tax, which is chargeable at a rate of 40% on a person’s entire estate including property, money and possessions.
Looking at ways to reduce this bill can have a substantial impact on the amount of money your loved ones receive. There are a number of reliefs and exemptions available, however, utilising these requires knowledge and skill in order to ensure that HMRC are appeased. Stringent record keeping is a priority as the more evidence your beneficiaries can provide, the better. Gifting is often used by many families hoping to avoid inheritance tax, however, providing records of this is one of the most important elements in order for executors to claim reliefs.
Turning to a DIY option for your will leaves you without any expert advice and therefore it is important to ensure you have all the information to hand to ensure your loved ones are protected. Some affairs are comparatively simple, however, it is often the case that once you take a closer look at your estate it reveals overlooked complexities. A qualified solicitor can be invaluable in these instances.