Will template: lifetime beneficial interest for spouse, partner or dependant

This will template has been drawn to allow a testator to support someone (such as a spouse or partner) for the rest of his or her life or subject to certain conditions, before dividing the remainder the estate between ultimate beneficiaries. It can be used to help minimise the value of the estate of the main beneficiary (possibly reducing inheritance tax liabilities) or it can be used to control who ultimately benefits from the estate (for example, to ensure children from earlier relationships are not disinherited). As in other Net Lawman will templates, you can set trust provisions in detail, giving you greater control of how the trustees should invest and manage your estate. Also included with the template are extensive guidance notes, explaining clearly how to edit the template and how to sign the will correctly, and a short example letter of intent to your executors or trustees.
Suitable for use in: England & Wales
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About this document

This last will and testament template gives you control over who ultimately receives your estate.

After bequests and legacies, the estate is put in trust for a lifetime beneficiary. That beneficiary might be your wife, husband, or partner or someone else who is dependent on you.

The lifetime interest ends when the beneficiary dies or some other condition is met (such as remarrying, living with another partner or a child reaching adulthood), and the estate is then given to one or more others. If some of the ultimate beneficiaries are your children and under 18, then their share of your estate remains in trust.

We use our own Net Lawman trust provisions in this template (adapted from STEP provisions) to give you maximum flexibility and control of how the trust is managed.

You can read more about trusts in general or specifically about life interests.

Like other Net Lawman will templates, there are provisions for legacies and bequests to be made to specific people before the estate is put into trust, and provisions for matters such as appointing guardians for children under 18.

Who should use this template?

The key feature of this will template is that the lifetime beneficiary of the trust doesn’t inherit your residual estate, but merely benefits from it while conditions are met. Of course, you could also separately bequeath money or possessions to that person so that they do inherit something from you.

Most commonly, we envisage that this template would be used by someone who:

  • wishes some of his or her estate to “skip a generation” to take full advantage of nil rate bands for inheritance tax, but still wishes to support a wife, husband or partner while he or she is alive (and possibly single);

  • wants to ensure that children from earlier relationships are not disinherited, but still wishes the estate to support a current wife, husband or partner during his or her lifetime;

  • wants the estate to support a dependent while help is needed before being distributed between a number of people.

This template is suitable for a man or for a woman - it isn't gender specific. We follow normal, modern legal convention of using the masculine form of a word regardless of the gender of the person.

This template can be used for basic inheritance tax planning (largely as illustrated by HM Revenue and Customs), but we do not provide guidance on the subject. If the value of your estate could exceed the nil rate band then we suggest that you seek advice from a qualified tax specialist before signing your will.

The nil rate band is £325,000. If you leave your home to a direct descendant, then it increases by £100,000 in 2017/18 and further by an additional £25,000 each year to 2020/21.

The law in this will

The law on wills is varied but precise. This will provides flexibility within that precise legal framework. The Net Lawman trust powers in this document free the trustees from some of the bonds of the Trustee Act 2001 that are unsuitable for trusts managed within your family and by professional advisers.

The law on wills can seem complicated. We have prepared a number of short articles to explain the more difficult legal concepts. You may like to read some of our articles on writing your own last will and testament.

When to use this will

You can write a will at any time in your life. Most people consider a new will when their financial circumstances change, or when relationships change. The Law Society advise that you review you will every five years, and that you make a new will after a major life change such as having a child, marriage, separation or divorce. It is possible to change a will without making a new one, but a new one is usually the preferable option.

Document features and contents

  • Revocation of all earlier wills
  • Appointment of executors and trustees
  • Legacies (gifts of money)
  • Bequests (gifts of possessions)
  • Instruction to executors to gather in assets
  • Gift over provision if the beneficiary does not survive you by more than a given time
  • Options for small bequests and legacies to children without involving a trust
  • Creation of a trust holding the residual value of the estate (using flexible trust provisions that you can change to suit how you want the trust to work)
  • Payments to executor(s)
  • Warning to executors on valuations
  • Alternative wishes for burial / cremation / use of your body for advancement of science
  • Appointment of guardians for children
  • Signatures and witnesses
  • Example letter of intent

This document was written by a solicitor for Net Lawman. It complies with current English law.

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