Latimer Hinks Solicitors is urging people, particularly High Net Worth (HNW) clients - to ensure they make a will sooner rather than later.
The call comes after the untimely death of comedian Rik Mayall who died last summer, aged 56, failing to leave a will and with an estate valued at £1,192,701. As a result Mayalls family could be liable to Inheritance Tax of tens of thousands of pounds.
Rik Mayall died in June 2014, before the October 2014 changes to the law. His wife will receive £250,000 of his assets plus personal chattels with the rest being split as to half to his wife for life and half for their three children. Assuming his children's share is worth more than £325,000, Inheritance Tax (IHT) becomes due.
Had he written a will in which he directed that all his assets were left to his wife no tax would be payable on his death. One of the key advantages of the Inheritance Tax rules is that assets passing between spouses pass tax free.
In addition to the potential IHT liability, dying without making a will means your estate will be distributed according to set rules, which may not necessarily correspond with your wishes.
Natalie Palmer, partner in the private client department at Latimer Hinks Solicitors, said: "This is yet another high profile case where having a will in place makes all the difference. It is the difference between future peace of mind for you and your family and real and expensive problems for them at a time of bereavement.
"Without a will, you cant make sure that your family will be provided for in the way you would wish. Whatever your marital status a will is always worth making and if youre not married and have significant assets then it really should be top of your "to do list. Its also particularly important where there is an unmarried relationship, a second marriage, step children who you would want to provide for or children from previous relationships.
For further information contact our Private Client team on 01325 341500