CONFIDENTIAL WILLS .CO.UK
Where should you store your will? How can you ensure your family or partner directly benefit from your bequest without losing out on Inheritance Tax? How can you leave your property for your loved one's? If you have questions, hopefully you'll find this information of use.
We recommend our clients store their Wills at the main Probate Office at High Holborn in London, there is a one off fee of £20.00, it is not an annual fee you will only need to pay the fee again if you deposit a new Will in the future. The Probate Office provide a special envelope in which your Will is sealed and on the outside of the envelope are your details and the details of the Executors of your Will.
You can either deliver the Will in person, send in by post or get someone else to deposit the Will for you, to obtain the Probate Office storage envelopes telephone:
020 7421 8500
Alternatively here is the main London office and their website will give you details of their many regional offices.
If you intend to store your Will in your bank, it is essential you do not seal the envelope as this can cause problems should an Executor attempt to retrieve the Will as the bank are not permitted to open a sealed envelope and therefore the Executor may have difficulty in proving that they are the Executor of the Will.
If you elect to store your Will with your solicitor it is prudent to make sure your Executors are aware of any changes of name or address of the solicitors as it may be some years since you first dealt with them and they may have moved several times.
There are also some private companies where you can register your Will and state where it is stored, there is a small fee for this service but it is also useful if you are trying to find where the Will of a family member or friend is stored, the company name is Willdata Ltd and here contact details are as follows:
Inheritance tax is levied at 40% on the amount over and above the threshold set by the government, the current threshold for Inheritance has been frozen at £325,000 since April 2009.
There are some gifts that are exempt from Inheritance Tax and here is a summary but these may be subject to changes in future legislation:
If the total value of your estate is above the current threshold there may be ways that you can reduce the risk of Inheritance Tax but every client is different and as with all things there are advantages and disadvantages so we detail the options to the client for them to then decide what they are most comfortable with. If you gift 10% or more of the residue of your estate to charity then any surplus over the threshold of £325,000 is taxed at a reduced rate of 36% rather than the standard rate of 40%.
Here are the contact details for the authority that deals with Inheritance Tax and their helpline number.
HM Revenue & Customs
If you currently own your property as joint tenants whereby you both own 100% of the property, on the death of one of you the whole of the property will pass to the survivor and you cannot bequeath your share to someone other than the other joint tenant.
If you leave all of your estate to your spouse and they subsequently re-marry, by default their new spouse may inherit all their estate and your children from current or previous marriages may be excluded from their estate. It may therefore be useful to bequeath your share of the property in trust for your children whilst allowing the surviving to continue to live in the property, the only way to do this is to change from joint tenants to tenants in common, this is called severing your joint tenancy and below are the land registry contact details to do this.
To change the ownership of the property from joint tenants to tenants in common you need to contact the Land Registry on: 0300 0060411
To request form RX1 or you can download same from www.landreg.gov.uk or visit any of the Land Registry regional offices, addresses of which can also be found on their website. There is no fee associated with severing your joint tenancy nor do you need a solicitor for this purpose.
CONFIDENTIAL WILLWRITING SERVICES