Will: “two year discretionary trust”; after gifts, all to spouse option; discretionary trust with wide trustee powers
About this document
Most likely users of this will:
Anyone, of any age, who wishes to minimise IHT without a risky “scheme”. This will is simple to understand and set up. It provides for your whole estate to go to your spouse if he / she survives you, leaving the trust provisions to apply only if she does not. But most people will want to use the alternative wording so that the trust provisions control the whole of their estate after specific gifts.
The main advantages of using this type of discretionary trust will is total flexibility. After you die, your executor-trustees (who can be a different sets of people if you wish) have up to two years in which to allocate your estate among the discretionary beneficiaries you list. It is usual for the testator to provide a letter of intent, so that the trustees know what is expected. The advantages are:
The normal rules of IHT apply, so that any tax saving arises only by using allowances and provisions which always apply. The benefit is that your executors can see what would be most useful and do it;
possible management of capital gains tax and who pays it when;
freedom for the trustees to select who gets what; for example to avoid breaking up a family business or making no payment to someone who is no longer in a position to benefit, or a large payment to someone in unusual need.
Unmarried or gay partners can maximise not only the use of both IHT thresholds, but can also minimise IHT on the remainder of their respective estates.
The downside is that you need at least one executor who is an independent minded solicitor or accountant whom you have to trust and whose fees have to be paid for his continuing involvement.
In this will, the trustee powers are far wider than usual, on the assumption that one or more may also be beneficiaries wishing to invest widely or run a business.
There is included a draft letter of guidance / intent to executors or trustees to make clear your detailed wishes. You cannot manage your affairs after your death, but this is the nearest you will get to doing so. A similar letter to your children’s guardians could be drawn.
It is usual in a “two-year discretionary tax will” to provide in your letter of intent for your spouse or partner.
Next, read relevant information articles as listed in the column to your right.
There are many reasons to make a will. If you are reading this page, we assume you are convinced that it is a good idea. In the old days, it was efficient to change your will by adding or editing some small point in a “codicil”. In these days of word processors that is not necessary. Just re-write your will, making the changes you want. Some people do it every year. But do, do keep the notes attached to your Net Lawman will and refresh your memory on the pointers we give you. In particular, make sure you sign and witness your will correctly.
A will is a very important document. Making a will is more than “filling a form”. We also advise against making a will using a software system. The downside is that you may find it hard to edit the finer points to suit your exact wishes. A Net Lawman will is carefully drawn so that you really can change and add to create the document you really want.
We want to help you to make your will so that it works exactly as you wish. Please, please read some of the information pages listed in the right column before you choose which will to buy. Each article deals simply with some aspect of your will.
Do not fear the gobbledy gook you still see in many wills. Some organisations, and even a few solicitors, still justify their charges by giving you a document 30 pages long. Yes, the law relating to wills and intestacy is very complicated. Add in today’s tax law and you can end up with not merely a can, but a barrel, of worms. Net Lawman wills keep it simple for you. Where we have to use time honoured legal text, we do so. There is no alternative. We also have to be very precise when dealing with some aspect which could affect tax. But wherever we can use simple, modern language we do that too.
Some advisers on wills may try to persuade you to enter into one of the tax “schemes” you see advertised in the newspapers. Maybe they are paid commission when you join up. We can advise you in complete confidence (we do not generally give advice) that any “scheme” to save tax is risky in that:
It may not succeed under today’s law;
Even if good now, the law may be changed before you die or make another will;
It is probably very expensive
If it fails, the tax may be payable by some person who least expected the bill.
If you are worth more than a few million pounds, see a solicitor specialist and pay for a bespoke will. Yes, it will probably cost a lot of money too, but he/she may find savings in esoteric corners which we do not include.
We do also provide comprehensive drafting notes with each will template document, so as to help you still more.
However, to help you decide whether this is the best will for you, here are a few more pointers:
We have specified “most likely users” of each will, but our classes are not exclusive. Anyone can make a will from any of these templates.
Details of the testator, executors and trustees
Specified gifts of money and property
Provisions for income while children are minors
Trust provisions and powers
Relationship between trustees and guardians
Care of minors
Letter of guidance / intent
Signature for testator and witnesses in line with section 9 of the Wills Act 1837
Extensive notes to guide you
This document is drawn and maintained by Net Lawman. It is real law in plain English.