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Wills: A Practical Guide

Wills: A Practical Guide
Lesley King, Peter Gausden
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This new edition of 'Wills: A Practical Guide' explains what is involved in making a will, with particular reference to avoiding those issues which often given rise to litigation. The book contains a concise description of the content of a will and the mechanics of signing and witnessing and is written by two experienced practitioners in a clear and user-friendly style. It provides a guide to not only what can be disposed of by will but to property which is subject to its own rules.

Information is provided on the formalities for making a will, including the testator's capacity and related issues, particularly those involving the elderly, which may affect the validity of the will. The appointment of executors, trustees and guardians is considered along with the dispositive provisions typically contained in a will, including the use of trusts, creation of residences, gifts to children and so on. There are also sections on less common aspects of will-making but which often cause problems for practitioners including gifts for the benefit of pets, gifts to employees, gifts of business interests, mutual (as distinguished from mirror) wills, testamentary options, burial and other requests and dealing with property overseas.

These matters are dealt with in the context of how a contentious will is now interpreted by the court in light of the Supreme Court's decision in Marley v Rawlings and other rules of construction. The importance of providing executors and trustees with appropriate powers and the need to modify what is implied by statute is dealt with, including the importance of making adequate provision for the application of income and capital when required. The inheritance tax implications of will planning and drafting are covered along with typical strategies for dealing with family wealth by making best use of the exemptions and reliefs available.

This includes guidance on leaving the family home in a way that maximises use of the new residence nil rate band when available, as well as explaining how the often overlooked matter of the incidence of inheritance tax effects its burden on beneficiaries. There are illustrative case studies of tax efficient wills appropriate for testators with common will-making problems. There is also a whole chapter aimed at dealing with drafting pitfalls and, more importantly, how to avoid them.

Problems are also caused if the existence of a will is uncertain and so there is a helpful section on storing and locating a will. The work also includes sections on revocation and the effect of alterations to wills. The book includes useful precedents and checklists.

'Wills: A Practical Guide' provides a concise summary of the law and practice of will-making for all those concerned in drafting wills.

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