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Inheritance tax: High Court case shows it's 'important' to have a will and probate plan

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“It is really important to deal with this in the will rather than relying on the surviving spouse to make a new will as they might not get around to it quickly enough, as here, or they might lose mental capacity and be unable to make a will.”

Carol concluded by examining how all of this could impact inheritance tax obligations: “If the will does not provide for what is to happen if the deceased’s partner is no longer living, and the estate is consequently distributed according to the intestacy laws, the opportunity has been lost to put in place inheritance tax efficient provisions, perhaps to include trusts for the wider family.

“Protection of younger beneficiaries is also important – under the intestacy rules they would become entitled to their share of the estate when they are 18 when most parents generally prefer for children to inherit at a greater age.

“Couples with no children or grandchildren will often wish to benefit both sides of the family from their combined estate on the death of the survivor and this needs to be dealt with through their wills as the intestacy rules will only benefit the family of the person who died last.”



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