Appointment of Executors

These are the persons who will, after your death, deal with the administration of your estate. This will involve making an inventory of your assets and liabilities, obtaining valuations, settling any Inheritance Tax payable, applying for and obtaining a Grant of Probate, collecting the assets, paying the debts and legacies and distributing the balance to the residuary beneficiaries.

2. Appointment of Trustees

If any part of your estate cannot be distributed immediately because, for instance, a beneficiary is under the age of 18 years, then it will be necessary to appoint Trustees to hold the appropriate part of your estate in trust. They may be the same individuals you name as executors or may be different.

3. Appointment of Guardians

If you have children under the age of 18 years, you should consider whether you wish to appoint guardians. These are the persons with whom your children would live as part of the family. Again they may be the same people as the Executors and Trustees or may be different.

4. Funeral Wishes

You will need to consider whether you wish to be cremated or buried and whether you wish to donate your body or any parts of your body for transplantation purposes or medical research. If no such wishes are expressed, an Executor will normally arrange for cremation. If you do have particular wishes you should set them out in your Will and also advise your next of kin.

5.  Legacies/bequests

You should consider whether you wish to make gifts of sums of money or specific items of property such as jewellery to individuals or charities.

6. Age of Inheritance

In the absence of any provisions to the contrary, an infant beneficiary becomes entitled to his or her inheritance on attaining the age of 18 years. Many parents feel that age is too young and prefer to insert a higher age such as 21 or 25.

If you decide a child should inherit at an age higher than 18 years, then the position, until he or she attains that age, is as follows. Whilst the child is under the age 18 years the Trustees have power to advance income for the child’s maintenance, education and benefit. At the age of 18 years the child becomes entitled to receive the income as of right but the Trustees still have complete control over capital until the age specified.

If an age higher than 18 years is chosen, then we suggest giving the Trustees a wide discretion to enable them to advance capital if they think fit, for example to contribute towards the cost of purchasing a flat or house. If the Trustees did put money into the purchase of a property, it could be bought in the joint names of the Trustees and the child so that the Trust investment would be protected until such time as the child reaches the specified age.

7. Longstop provisions

You should consider how you wish your estate to be distributed if the people you wish to benefit die before you or before attaining the age at which they are to become entitled.

If you would like any more information about this, please contact any member of out Tax, Trusts and Estates team:

email: wills@rhw.co.uk  or call: 01483 302000