Will drafting—planning the Will
Will drafting—planning the Will

The following Wills & Probate practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Will drafting—planning the Will
  • Absolute interests versus trusts
  • Inheritance tax (IHT)
  • Property
  • Survivorship clauses
  • Business and agricultural property
  • Taking into account family circumstances
  • Gifts to minors
  • Annuities
  • Class closing
  • More...

Usually, the draftsperson will have met the client to take instructions and will have obtained all the relevant information regarding their circumstances through that meeting and other communication with the client. Using the information and the instructions from the client as to what they want their Will to do, the general form of the Will can be planned. It will be necessary to determine which of a number of drafting options are appropriate to the client.

The Wills of spouses and civil partners will likely be similar, although certain specific individual circumstances or preferences of each may dictate differing terms.

Absolute interests versus trusts

In determining the most appropriate form for the Will, the draftsperson needs to consider the advantages and disadvantages of absolute interests versus using a trust, as well keeping the client's wishes at the centre of the process. Some of the most common considerations are:

  1. if a surviving spouse or civil partner is to have a limited ability to deal with or dip into the capital of the estate, a life interest may be preferable

  2. if it is a matter of concern, a life interest can protect assets in the event of a surviving spouse or civil partner forming a new union or cohabiting (but a lifetime termination of the trust may have a capital gains tax (CGT) disadvantage)

  3. in the case of a

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