Don’t Trigger significant tax liability, Only Fools don’t make Wills

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Niamh McAlonan – Private Client Solicitor about tax liability

Roger Lloyd Pack, affectionately known to millions as ‘Trigger’ sadly died from cancer last year, leaving behind a potential six figure inheritance tax bill, all thanks to having failed to prepare a will.

For ten years Roger starred in Only Fools and Horses alongside David Jason as Del Boy and Nicholas Lyndhurst as Rodney. He is also fondly remembered for his role as farmer Owen in the hugely successful The Vicar of Dibley, starring alongside Dawn French.

Having a will gives you the power to decide who your money and property will pass on to when you die. If you die without a valid will statutory rules (known as the rules of intestacy) will apply that may see your assets pass to people you never intended.

Roger’s estate, of over £1,400,000, will now be divided under the rules of intestacy, which mean that his wife would receive his personal belongings plus £250,000, with the remaining estate being divided between her and his four children. Any money inherited by Roger’s wife is not liable to inheritance tax, but the other half of the estate passing to Roger’s children will be subject to tax. Anything that they inherit (in excess of the inheritance tax threshold, currently £325,000) will be charged at a rate of 40%.

A simple will leaving his estate to his wife would have avoided the whole problem. As it is, if Roger’s family wish to avoid paying the tax they will now have to take further steps to vary the rules of intestacy, which is dependent on the children being prepared to give up or reduce their inheritance.

This case is a reminder of the importance of preparing a valid will, and the true cost of failing to do so. When preparing your will it is important to use a qualified practitioner, as a badly drafted will can have unintended consequences that may lead to difficulties such as tax liability for your family after you die.

To create a will or to discuss your personal circumstances please email or call 01453 847200.



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