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I know who I want to inherit, but how should they inherit?

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William Rowe, Associate Solicitor in the Wills and Probate Team at mfg Solicitors' Telford office, explains what important points to consider when making a Will

Recent events concerning the Coronavirus pandemic have given many people time to pause for thought about making sure their affairs are in order. This is certainly the case concerning wills. We may know who we want to benefit when the time comes, whether spouses, partners, children or charities, but how exactly should they benefit? The easiest solution is a simple, direct gift in your will.

However, the easiest solution isn’t always the right solution.

When thinking about leaving your estate to your spouse or partner, consider whether you would want to protect some or all of the assets against circumstances arising during the survivor’s lifetime. This could include remarriage, future care fee liability or even bankruptcy. Rather than simply gifting the assets directly, you could make use of a trust in your will. This would, for example, allow your spouse or partner to continue to live in the house or receive the income from investments, whilst protecting the underlying capital for the next generation.

Whilst it is perfectly understandable to want to leave your estate to your children at the end of the day, this is not always practical. Difficulties handling finances, matrimonial problems and sadly in some cases, addiction problems, can mean that a straightforward gift is not always going to be helpful. It could be a case of “pouring fuel on the fire”. In these cases, the use of a trust in your will, where your trustees (usually the same people you appoint to be your executors) can help to protect family assets and ensure that the inheritance is used to help rather than hinder a beneficiary with personal problems.

Finally, when considering a charitable bequest, is this simply going to be a simple gift to be used for general purposes, or do you want it applied for a specific purpose? For larger gifts, you may wish to contact the proposed charity to ask them how they would apply a legacy, to satisfy yourself that the gift will be well used.

For substantial legacies, you may wish to consider using a trust under your will, and asking the trustees to make the final decision against criteria you set out in a separate letter.  

The most important thing is to have proper advice, and at mfg Solicitors, our Private Client team stands ready to assist you. Please call us on 0845 55 55 321 or email or contact William directly on 01952 641651 or