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Everyone should have a Will, particularly if you own property, are married or have a long-term partner, have children or other dependants or simply wish to benefit someone who is not a close family member. By not having a Will, you have no say in what happens to your estate when you die or in who is to be responsible for the administration. This may cause difficulties for those who are nearest to you. Making a will records how your estate will be dealt with after your death and will give you and your family peace of mind. While strictly speaking you donít need a solicitor to make a Will, it is always a good idea to seek professional advice when dealing with an issue of this importance, especially if your estate is considerable or where your wishes are complex.

With the increase in property values, more and more families are coming within the scope of inheritance tax. Inheritance tax is a tax which is levied against the estate of a deceased person. Depending on the value of the estate, the type of assets owned and the beneficiaries, inheritance tax may be payable. Inheritance tax is charged against the deceasedís net estate (i.e. the total value of the estate less debts). The value of any gifts made within 7 years of death may also be brought into account. Over and above the Nil Rate Band (which is £300,000 for the tax year 2007/2008), inheritance tax is payable at the rate of 40%.

You may feel that you donít have much to leave but think about the value of your house, its contents and any savings or investments which you have. You may find that you are worth more than you thought!

Donít leave things to chance but get in touch for advice on the preparation of Wills and guidance on inheritance tax planning.

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