Frequently asked questions
A will enables you to distribute your assets according to your wishes when you die. It's also a means of providing for family members. If you have minor children, you can use a will to appoint a guardian to look after them. You can also use a will to provide legacies or specific gifts to non-family members, such as charity, friends and employees. If you die without a will, the intestacy rules will determine who gets what -- you will have no say whatsoever.
The intestacy rules determine who gets what if a person dies without a will. They provide, for example, that the spouse or civil partner of the deceased gets the first £250,000 of the deceased's assets, plus the deceased's personal belongings and a "life interest" in half the remainder of the assets; the deceased's children get half of the excess assets after the first £250,000, and the remainder on the spouse's death. If the deceased is married without children or is unmarried, then there are further rules that apply.
A grant of probate is a court order that gives a deceased person's executors authority to deal with the deceased person's assets. Ordinarily, the persons named as executors apply to the court for a grant of probate as soon as possible after the date of death. If there is no will, the court can give an equivalent order known as "letters of administration," which gives the "administrator" authority to deal with the deceased's assets.
When a person gets married or enters into a civil partnership any existing will is automatically revoked -- unless it is a will that he or she made specifically in anticipation of the marriage or civil partnership. (NB. This may be particularly significant for someone who is planning a second marriage and who has an existing will benefitting children from his or her first marriage.)
People create trusts because they offer more flexibility and control over the transfer of assets than outright gifts. In a trust, you can separate capital and income, and distribute the two separately. In addition, you can parse out assets over a period of time or create a "life interest", (so that one beneficiary gets to enjoy the asset during his/her lifetime, after which it passes to a second beneficiary). In a trust, you can also control the disposition of assets for many years -- even beyond the grave.
Most trusts will require some degree of administration, which will include the management of trust investments, regular accounting for trust assets and income, the preparation and filing of tax returns, and the processing of any payments or other distributions to beneficiaries.
This overview outlines the inheritance tax, capital gains tax, and income tax implications arising on (i) creation of a trust, (ii) during the lifetime of a trust, and (iii) in subsequent transactions involving trust assets.
A large number of people in the UK own property abroad, and in many cases the succession laws of the country in which the property is located could govern the disposition of that property on the owner’s death. For that reason, it is often a good idea to have a foreign will to deal with any significant overseas assets that you might own.
There is a popular misconception that unmarried couples who have lived together for a long time -- and maybe even have had children together -- will, for legal purposes, be treated as a married couple. The fact is, though, that this is not true.
In selecting a trustee for an estate-planning trust, it is important to remember at the outset that the individual (and/or trust company) you select is someone that you or the trust's beneficiaries are likely to be working with over a period of many years.
For most trusts, the income tax rate the trustees have to pay depends on whether the trust is a discretionary trust (which is able to accumulate income) or an interest in possession trust (which must pay out all income to the beneficiaries).
Here are some ideas about how to find the resources you need in order to set up a trust, put together a broader estate plan (which may include a trust), or, if you are a trustee, to get answers to questions about your obligations and how to carry them out.
- Criminal Law Quiz
- Ex wife is moving child away
- Contract enforcement
- Criminal Appeal
- EU and SA passports: wanting to buy property in UK
- Property ownership if owner died intestate
- What is Business to Businesses ?
- Need some good Telemarketing Points ?
- UK Visa vs Criminal convictions
- Legality of online sale of contact lenses across EU
- Public urination in London
- Am I legally obliged to give a refund?
- dismissed in probation -contract breach query
Nigel Farage to take legal advice over EU expenses
The leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) is taking legal advice after being accused of misappropriating EU expenses, after a former party aide claimed that £50,000 of EU funding was paid directly into a personal bank account of the...
'War Horse' musicians lose legal fight after sacking
Five musicians sacked from the hit West-End musical 'War Horse' have lost a legal fight to have their sacking suspended whilst a breach of contract case is heard, reports the BBC. The five musicians were released by the producers of...
Anti-semitism: Private school faces questions over 'gas chamber' comment by teacher
A London private school is facing uncomfortable questions in the media after the Daily Mail reported an incident in which a teacher told a Jewish student she would be 'sent to the gas chambers' for jumping the lunch queue. The...
Korea state insurance firm sues tobacco companies
The South Korean state insurance company has initiated legal proceedings in Asia against cigarette manufacturers in a bid to have them pay for smoking-related treatment costs, reports the BBC. The unprecedented legal action pit the South Korean National Health Insurance...
Former deputy speaker says CPS should pay legal bill and criticises anonymity for sexual cases
The former deputy speaker of the House of Commons Nigel Evans MP has demanded that the Crown Prosecution Service pay his £130,000 legal bill after being acquitted in a trial over a string of sexual offences, reports the BBC. Mr...
Gay marriage: Chaplain defies rules to marry partner in England
A hospital chaplain has defied Church of England rules to marry his long-term partner this weekend, despite the move being censured by his church, reports the BBC. Same-sex marriage became law in the UK last year, and the first ceremonies...
'Top Gear' venue loses fight over unrestricted flying rights
The owners of Dunsfold Park Aerodrome have lost their legal fight to secure the right to conduct unrestricted flying at the venue, in a blow to the producers of the Top Gear programme that is filmed there, reports the BBC....
Legal challenge to GP exam fails in High Court
The High Court has ruled that the examinations set by the Royal College of General Practitioners is lawful, but rules that it is time for the profession to address the differences in pass rates between white and non-white candidates, reports...
Three-year freeze on asylum seeker benefits to be reviewed
The Home Secretary has been asked to review the amount of money given to asylum seekers as benefits after the High Court ruled that the decision to freeze benefits for three years was based on insufficient evidence, reports The Independent....
Legal case to decide whether doctor's training is discriminatory
A large group of Black and Asian doctors are to mount a legal challenge against the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and the General Medical Council (GMC) amid claims that the examinations set for GP trainees are inherently discriminatory...
Anti-slavery: MPs and peers call for new laws to be strengthened
MPs and peers have called for the new anti-slavery legislation being drafted by the Government to be strengthened to give more attention to the victims of human trafficking, reports the BBC. The Government is working on a new law to...
NHS charged £83k legal bill for a £1k claim sparking outrage
The NHS Litigation Authority chief Catherine Dixon has lifted the lid on the charges levied by solicitors during compensation claims against the NHS, to reveal how some charge up to 80 times more than the value of the claim they...
Rail Union threatens legal action over East Coast line
The Rail Maritime and Transport Workers union (RMT) has threatened the Government with legal action over its proposed reprivatisation of the East Coast mainline, as well as the Thameslink and Great Northern lines, reports the BBC. The RMT is calling...
UK law to permit sale of home HIV testing kits
The UK Government is to legislate to allow the sale of 'home-testing kits' for HIV infection in the UK, despite the fact that no such device exists in the UK market at present, reports the BBC. The Government has passed...
Debt: New laws come into force to prevent bailiffs using aggressive tactics
New laws to regulate the behaviour of bailiffs came into force yesterday, aimed at cracking down on aggressive tactics that can leave some debtors living in fear, reports the BBC. The reforms come as part of a package of changes...