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Money Box Live: wills and inheritance tax

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BBC Radio 4's Money Box Live
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 at 1502 GMT On Radio 4 and Online

There is always uncertainty when it comes to personal finance, but the one thing you can control is what happens to your assets after you die. But to make sure your money goes to your nearest and dearest, and not to undeserving relations or the Inland Revenue, you need to do advance planning.

If you have a partner but you are not married or in a civil partnership, it is even more important to detail who you want your assets to go to, otherwise you can cause your partner serious financial difficulties after your death.

You can leave up to £325,000 tax-free to anyone, not just your spouse or civil partner, and estates are liable to a 40% tax above this ceiling.

But it may be more efficient in terms of tax to give gifts before your death, provided they meet certain conditions.

So, where should you start in making a will - do you have to go to a solicitor or are the services provided by some high street banks and shops good enough?

What happens to estates that are intestate - that is, the person has died without a valid will?

How can you manage some of your assets with a trust? It can be complicated but it can also give you more control over who gets your assets and when.

How often should you update your will? And how should you choose your executors, the people charged with carrying out the instructions in your will?

And what if you live in Scotland, where the rules are different?

Paul Lewis was joined by:

• Nicola Plant, Pemberton Greenish

• Mike Warburton, Grant Thornton

• Alan Barr, Brodies and Director of Legal Practice, University of Edinburgh

Presenter: Paul Lewis
Producer: Michael Wendling

Money Box



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