Family Trusts and Saving Tax

How you make your Will and your use of Trusts can affect how much your children inherit, if anything at all!

The examples below show how five married couples approached their Will writing and estate planning requirements and demonstrates that not all Wills are the same. A cost-effective trust can make the difference between your loved ones inheriting everything and inheriting nothing at all.

Five different couples with different approaches to the same scenario. See how it turned out for each different family.

1. Mr & Mrs Young never made their Wills

Mr & Mrs Young were married and had three children. They had a combined estate of £240,000. They hadn’t got around to making their Wills.

Mr Young died, and the estate passed in full to Mrs Young due to the rules of intestacy. Mrs Young Married Mr Arnold who had one Son. Subsequently, neither Mr Arnold nor Mrs Young made a Will.

Mrs Young then died and because of the laws of intestacy the estate passed to Mr Arnold. On his death, it passed to his Son.

Mr & Mrs Young’s natural children got nothing at all!

Mr & Mrs Young paid nothing, and their children never inherited a thing.

2. Mrs Edwards didn’t make her Will after she remarried.

Mr & Mrs Edwards were married and had three children. They had a combined estate of £240,000. They made mirror wills where everything passed to the survivor on first death, and then shared between the children on the second death.

Mr Edwards died, and the estate passed in full to Mrs Edwards in accordance with the Will. Mrs Edwards married Mr Arnold, who had one son. Mrs Edwards kept her existing will safe. She didn’t realise that her Will was invalid because she remarried.

Mrs Edwards died and because her Will was invalid, the laws of intestacy determined her estate passed to Mr Arnold. On his death, it passed to his Son.

Mr & Mrs Edwards’ natural children got nothing at all!

Mr & Mrs Edwards paid for a Mirror Will, which cost less than £200, but her children lost everything due to an oversight. Some people might not remarry; however this is a very common problem which happens on a regular basis. It is an easy thing to forget!

3. Mrs Turnbull did make another Will after she remarried, however the assets were left unprotected when she inherited them from Mr Turnbull.

Mr & Mrs Turnbull were married and had three children. They had a combined estate of £240,000. They had mirror wills where everything passed to the survivor on first death, and then shared between the children on the second death.

Mr Turnbull died, and the estate passed in full to Mrs Turnbull in accordance with the Will. Mrs Turnbull married Mr Arnold, who had one son. Mrs Turnbull made a New Will where her estate would pass to her three children.

Mr Arnold and Mrs Turnbull divorced, and a proportion of the estate was lost as part of the divorce settlement. Mrs Turnbull then went into residential care for two years before she died.

These events left £20,000 in her estate, and after funeral costs, the children inherited £4,000 each.

Mr & Mrs Turnbull paid for a Mirror Will which cost less than £200 and Mrs Turnbull made her Will again after she remarried, which cost about £100 but all the assets where unprotected, and were swallowed up by a divorce settlement and care home fees, leaving little for the children to inherit.

4. Mrs Bowyer did make another Will after she remarried, and half the assets were protected after Mr Bowyer died because they put a Trust in the original Will.

Mr & Mrs Bowyer were married and had three children. They had a combined estate of £240,000. They had mirror wills, and an Asset Preservation Trust was put into the Will.

Mr Bowyer died, and half of the assets went into the trust. Mrs Bowyer was able to utilise the capital in the trust if she needed to. Mrs Bowyer had full access to her share of the estate too, which did not go into the trust. Mrs Bowyer married Mr Arnold, who had one son. Mrs Bowyer made a New Will where her estate would pass to her three children.

Mr Arnold and Mrs Bowyer divorced, and a proportion of Mrs Bowyer’s assets were lost as part of the divorce settlement. Mrs Bowyer then went into residential care for two years before she died.

These events left £20,000 in her estate, however the money in the trust was protected for the eventual benefit of the children, and after funeral costs, the children inherited £44,000 each.

Mr & Mrs Bowyer paid for a Mirror Will (around £200), and an Asset Preservation Trust (around £400) and Mrs Bowyer made her Will again after she remarried (around £100). Half of the assets where protected by the trust, and the rest was swallowed up by a divorce settlement and care home fees, leaving a total of £132,000 for the children to inherit after funeral costs.

5. Mrs Williamson did make another Will after she remarried, and all the assets were protected at outset, as they put them into a Trust straight away rather than putting the trust into the Will.

Mr & Mrs Williamson were married and had three children. They had a combined estate of £240,000. They had mirror wills, but also put the estate assets into a Lifetime Family Asset Preservation Trust whilst they were alive. They could access this money and it provided some protection for the assets.

Mr Williamson died, and the money remained in the trust. Mrs Williamson made a new Will and was able to continue to draw the capital and live off the income as needed from the trust.

Mrs Williamson married Mr Arnold, they then subsequently got divorced, and the assets in the trust were protected. Mrs Williamson then went into residential care for two years, and the assets in the trust continued to be protected.

On her death, the assets of £240,000 which had been protected, were available and the children received £77,000 each after funeral costs.

Mr & Mrs Williamson paid for a Mirror Will (around £200), and a Lifetime Family Asset Preservation Trust (around £2,400) and Mrs Williamson made her Will again after she remarried (around £100).All of the assets where protected by the trust, and was unaffected by the divorce and the care home fees, leaving a total of £231,000 for the children to inherit after funeral costs.

You have a say whether it ends happily ever after.

These are typical examples of how life might pan out. But life will be different for everyone.

Trusts provide a huge amount of protection compared to just making a Will. It might be fine to just make a Will, and then again, it might not. We do not know what tomorrow brings.

A trust might seem expensive now, but it could make the difference of the final beneficiaries inheriting literally hundreds of thousands of pounds more than they would do without the trust.

There are few guarantees in life, but trusts can help protect assets when times get hard. Don’t worry if this all sounds complicated – Goodwills’ role is to hold your hand every step of the way.

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