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Updating Will. Questions on letter of wishes, trusts and age children get inheritance, if someone could help please.

(3 Posts)
CrapBag Thu 05-Feb-15 13:34:28

We are in the process of updating our Will.

I am going to write a letter of wishes for my jewellery as I have quite a bit. Not antique or valuable (apart from my nans wedding ring) but it's gold and cost quite a bit if you add it all up.

We only have 2 children, a dd and a ds. Obviously it's all ladies jewellery. DH has nothing so nothing he can pass down. How do I split it? Shall I write that they can decide between them when the youngest is an adult? It says on the form you can only leave 5 gifts and 1 disaster clause. In the case of the disaster clause I was just going to say my relatives can have what jewellery they would like then sell the rest towards the estate. Would that be fair/right?

What about all your other possessions? Does it just get sold towards the estate? If the children were still underage do they get to say what they want? We have a bit of electrical gadgets which aren't too cheap. I'd like to think they could have what they wanted before it presumably gets sold towards the estate. Do you write this sort of stuff or leave it for the executors to decide?

Also we each have life insurance and some equity in the house due to a large deposit paid by my inheritance. What happens with this money when it is left to the children wrt releasing some to the guardian for their upbringing? I wouldn't want the money to all be swallowed up by bringing them up, it would cost less than what we have. I'd like to think they would get a decent enough amount when they are adults. Does it cost more to leave money in trust (and what exactly does that mean?) And does it cost more if they don't get it at 18, but later on, say 25? When we did our first Will, i'm sure we were told it would cost us money to leave it in trust and to leave it to the children when they are older than 18. Is this right?

Mumblechum1 Thu 05-Feb-15 18:40:30

Hi OP, I'm a willwriter and dont' quite get why your willwriter says that you can only leave 5 gifts and one disaster clause.

Generally, it's not appropriate to list your assets in terms of things like electrical gadgets bearing in mind that statistically you aren't going to pop off until you're in your early 80s!

There are a lot of questions in your OP but I'll have a go at answering as many as possible

When I write wills for my clients, I include:

(apart from obvious stuff like their name address and revocation clausesmile

1. The appointment of the spouse as sole executor if they survive. If they've died first then appointing 2 executors who will also act as trustees if any beneficiary is under a specified age (usually 21).

2. The appointment of a guardian (or a few) who'd look after any minor children in the unlikely event that you both died before the youngest was 18. I then go on to say that the guardians can take money from the trust fund to cover the children's maintenance and expenses (that's in the law anyway but I always put it in so the guardians don't feel bad about asking for money). The trust is administered by the executors/trustees who will be responsible for looking after the money on the children's behalf until they become entitled.

3. Any funeral wishes

4. Any gifts of personal possessions. I generally recommend that clients only put really important things into the will, eg a family heirloom to a child. Everything else can go in a letter of wishes which you can change at any time without going to the expense of re-writing your will.

5. Any gifts of specific sums, eg £1k to a charity.

6. Explains what is meant by the estate, ie equity in any properties, savings, shares, furniture, cars etc.

7. Goes through the trustees/executors duties which are to pay IHT, debts, funeral expenses and executorship expenses, and then distribute the residue between the beneficiaries. Most clients leave everything to each other, then their children, but if one of their children dies before them leaving children, their share goes to those grandchildren.

8. I usually then put in the disaster clause, ie what would happen if on the second death, there are no children or grandchildren. I often suggest that the joint estate be split into two equal shares and one half divided between the husband's siblings and the other between the wife's.

Then a couple of techy clauses regarding the laws applicable and the wills not being mutual, but changeable over time.

I realise that you were also asking about life insurance. This is usually written into a discretionary trust and isn't paid to your estate to avoid attracting inheritance tax and so is dealt with separately from your estate.

You also asked about it costing your estate more if your children receive their inheritance at a later age than 18. This is correct; it's to do with income tax accrued on the trust but to be honest it's a relatively small tax advantage to give them the money at 18 compared to the danger of them going mad with the money when they don't have the maturity to deal with it.

Please feel free to PM me if you need more info.

CrapBag Fri 06-Feb-15 20:16:54

Thanks for all the info. That's really helpful.

Will PM you. smile

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