Business Wills

What exactly is a “Business Will”?

Anyone that is in business can write a Will that covers their business. The business can be in the form of a sole trader, a partnership or limited liability partnership (LLP), or a limited company.

In that Will, you don’t even need to mention the business if your intention is that it will form part of your estate and be distributed to your chosen residuary beneficiaries.

By contrast, you may want any business or shares in a business to be dealt with differently. In order to secure Business Relief against Inheritance Tax (formerly called Business Property Relief) you may want a trust to be set up by your Will on your demise, once again for your chosen beneficaries.

Is a Will enough, and does it constitute a “Business Will”?

Willing your beneficaries a business could be willing them a “poison chalice”. It could be that you have given no guidance as to how to run the business, or sell the business. So part of your “Business Will” should be to think about writing some notes and effectively work through the challenges that will occur on Day One after your demise. Those notes could be kept with your Will, or in a place where that can be accessed by the right people quickly. Take care not to write down any passwords that could release data or monies into the wrong hands.

Minority shares in a limited company may be worthless, or a pile of trouble for the owner of the shares. As part of your “Business Will” you should think about getting in place a cross option agreement maybe as part of a wider Director’s Agreement to protect the value fo your shareholding . This allows the surviving shareholders the option of buying your shares at an agreed figure (or an agreed formula) on your demise. These amounts can be covered by life cover in a company that will pay out allowing your beneficiaries to walk away with cash rather that shares.

The same principle applies to partnerships or LLPs except the agreement is a Partnership Agreement with a cross option included.

So in summary, a “Business Will” is more than a Will. It is a series of planning steps that you can take that means that your beneficiaries will benefit from your hard work rather than leaving them a complex puzzle that they would prefer not to deal with at the time of a bereavement.

Lasting Powers of Attorney -The Facts


In later life we expect to perhaps become forgetful, but none of us believe that we could lose our mental capacity, because those sorts of things happen to other people, not us. After all ” I’m only 50, I’m only 60, I’m only 70″ etc. Mental decline may occur slowly over time or by a sudden event such as a stroke or accident. Of course you may be lucky and keep your mental capacity right up until your eventual demise.

However if we lose mental capacity and decisions need to be made about our property and affairs someone needs to make an application to the Court of Protection to act on our behalf. That someone may be a member of your family or even the local authority to extract the cost of any care. These appointed people are known as deputies.

This process entails Court fees of various types totalling approximately £800 and lawyer’s costs averaging £1500 from your own resources. A full statement of your financial affairs is submitted to the Court. In addition there will be a deputy’s charge for running your affairs and accounting up to £800 pa.  At the end of that process it will not be someone you chose to act for you!

The better alternative is to act in advance and prepare a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). While you have your mental capacity you can prepare the document to appoint a person or people to act for you that you choose in the event of loss of mental capacity. These people can be family or friends, but should of course be people you can trust.

What are the two types of LPA?

The most commonly executed LPA is the type for Property and Affairs which as the name suggests allows your chosen attorneys to undertake transactions with regard to your property and affairs, from the mundane day-to-day cash requirements all the way up to significant transactions such as selling or buying a home for you.

The less common, but arguably equally important, is the LPA for Health and Welfare. This allows your attorneys to act for you, organising your day-to-day care, including arrangements for medical, eye, or dental care. This document also gives you an option to choose whether your attorneys are to be involved with decisions about life sustaining treatment. This document can also be very important in allowing your attorneys to act in your best interests if you are involved with local authority care, asking the right questions and getting the best care for you.

Can my attorneys overrule me by saying “I’m dotty”?

The Mental Capacity Act has clear guidelines that are explicitly spelt out in the document. Your attorneys must assume that you can make your own decisions unless they establish that you cannot. Also your attorneys cannot treat you as unable to make decisions even if they judge those decisions to be unwise.

So in summary you should always be in control until it is established that you cannot make decisions.

Can I use the LPA when I have full mental capacity?

Providing you have not put any restrictions in the document the answer is Yes. This can be useful if say for example you have limited mobility or simply in old age. You can ask your attorneys to perform certain tasks and report back to you with the outcome. An example may be to visit a local bank or building society with regard to the maturity of a fixed rate bond.

How can I get an LPA in place?

You can prepare the documents yourself by going to the website of the Office of the Public Guardian at or you can let a professional do the work to ensure the forms are completed correctly.

If you can ask Will You Ltd to prepare the documents for you here are the advantages :

  • We visit you and explain the Lasting Power of Attorney
  • We can explain to your chosen attorneys their role if they need  guidance
  • We complete the paperwork for you to sign
  • We offer to guide you through the signing process
  • We register the documents on your behalf until to have a valid registered document



5 reasons you may want to review that Will!


To check it is valid. Has it been signed and witnessed? Often I seen clients that have used a solicitor, paid for the Will, and have only been left with a draft, thinking it’s a valid Will. If you have married or remarried since making your Will, the previous Will is invalid.

Changes in circumstances and family

Not every Will is flexible enough to cope with changes. Have you mentioned specific property? Do you still own that property? Personal circumstances change: marriage, separation, and divorce. Family may come into our lives and leave our lives, for lots of reasons, births, deaths and marriages being an example.

Does it still reflect your wishes?

More importantly, does it reflect what you are telling family that it does? If not, you need to align the two, so as to avoid family disputes after your demise.

Tax planning

Wills were often created in ways to take advantage of the Inheritance rules at the time. The rules have changed. Is your Will written to take advantage of the current tax rules?


Are the executors you chose still the people that you want to act? If not you need to update your Will.

If you are not sure about your Will or it contains trusts that you don’t understand, Will You Ltd can review your Will free of charge providing you with an A4 page report so you can consider whether there is any need to update your Will.

Do make sure if you have any life assurances that they are put in trust if relevant and for pension funds you have completed a trust form or a Nomination of Beneficiary form. These can be just as important as your Will. Once again we can help you review these items as part of our service alongside your financial adviser.

Lasting Powers of Attorney and Investments

If you have invested funds with a bank or investment house you may well have given them authority to buy and sell shares or funds, much in the same way an old fashioned stockbroker may have acted for you.

These are known as discretionary fund managers or DFMs. Examples are firms such as Charles Stanley, Brewin Dolphin, Seven Investment Management, Rathbones etc.

However the problem comes if you lose mental capacity. Paragraph 7.38 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 Code of Practice states that “the attorney must make these decisions personally and cannot generally give someone else authority to carry out their duties.

If the donor wants the attorney to be able to give authority to a specialist to make specific decisions, they need to clearly state it in the Lasting Power of Attorney document (for example, appointing an investment manager to make particular investment decisions).”

So advisers need to be clear that their client does not have any schemes such as discretionary fund management, investments held by nominees or the managers of the scheme, and perhaps also need to ensure that they are unlikely to have such an arrangement in the future. Don’t forget that DFMs can also be managing pension funds within Self Invested Pension Plans.

In addition, it would be nice to allow the attorneys the possibility of investing in such a way. So in cases where the client has investments, it would be prudent to include the special wording in the Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Affairs, just in case. Otherwise it may be necessary to rearrange long standing investment arrangements so there is no “discretionary” element involved in investment decisions.

However, when you deal with a company like Will You Ltd you would expect them to have a conversation around this to ensure your interests are protected. If you are concerned about this, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice.



Living Wills

Living Wills are also known as Advance Decisions and are effectively statements of intent as to how you want to be treated when it comes to life sustaining decisions.

Here is a link to today’s BBC real story that rather hammers home the point. The point being if you want some control over how you die write a Living Will, and it doesn’t matter if you are 18 or 80, it still applies to you.

“Doctors wouldn’t let my sister die”

What’s more you don’t need to pay us to do it for you. The charity Compassion in Dying has an excellent website that allows you to complete an Advance Decision free of charge. Here is the link…

Compassion in Dying

Of course, it is not for everyone. Some of you may not want to make any Living Will. That’s fine.

So how does someone know you have an Advance Decision in place?

You should supply your GP with a copy and they have a system that would log it and call it up if required. Even better, carry an Advance Decision card in your wallet with your credit cards. This can be printed out from the Compassion in Dying website.

Another tip is to regularly re-sign the Advance Decision, this shows that you are reaffirming your decision and commitment to it.


How to avoid Inheritance Tax

Politician Roy Jenkins in 1986 stated “Inheritance Tax, is broadly speaking a voluntary levy paid by those who distrust their  heirs more than they dislike the Inland Revenue.”

Like our friend Boris, I would say he liked to be controversal! The point he was making is that there are a multitude of different ways to avoid Inheritance Tax if you are thoughtful enough to plan ahead.

I recently acquired a great handbook published by SIFA called “Financial Solutions for Estate Planning” 2017. This is designed for financial advisers and it details all the financial products and schemes available to legally avoid Inheritance Tax. I would point out the booklet is over twice as thick as my 2011 version, so there is no shortage of choice.

Whatever your views, it happens, and on an industrial scale.

My point is, you should talk to a financial adviser because the money you spend on advice can return to you or your ultimate beneficiaries 100 fold.

Before you start any financial engineering, you should write a Will or update your Will with a will writer that considers these aspects. There are mechanisms that you can use in your Will that can potentially save huge amounts of Inheritance Tax.







The Wills Act 1837 is now 180 years old. Is it time for us to move on from the Victorian era and look again at whether this is all really working? Well the Law Commission thinks so…

So is the Last Will and Testament of the future going to be a video, a text, or a note on your Ipad?

Indeed all this is up for discussion. Some commentators are saying “Hold on a minute, how do you test whether that person had mental capacity or indeed testamentary capacity? Is this going to create a glittering Wonderland for lawyers as the level of disputes goes sky high?”

Mental capacity is a key issue. Access to will writing is another issue.

There are a thousand other things to consider as well. Other countries will be watching closely to see how radical any reforms become. Various states in Australia such as New South Wales have addressed the issue of minors under 18 being able to write a Will, so 16 year old internet entrepreneurs and others can, with Court permission, write a valid Will. I suspect that is coming here soon as well.

The Law Commission review is covering a wide variety of topics, however they are somewhat skipping over the issue of digital assets.

Digital assets include websites, music purchased online, valuable domain names, blogs, etc. This can be dealt with well by talking to a professional will writer, but some things will be a blurry area until  other areas of the law (often foreign laws) become clearer.

We are optimistic that the changes will make things better and easier but much care is needed.

Meanwhile, let us agonise over the changes. Just get a valid Will in place now, it’s not that complicated….



I remember back in my days in financial services we had a rubber stamp in the office with a red ink pad that said “ACT NOW!” and where necessary we used to stamp it on client letters.

Over the last month I have seen the consequences of not acting with regard to Lasting Powers of Attorney and leaving it to the last minute in hospital with considerable difficulties. I would urge you whatever age you are to consider having a “notional heart attack” now.

Is your Will up to date?

Is your Lasting Power of Attorney in place?

What about all your internet passwords?

Have you made any contingency plans if suddenly you are not able to act?

Some years ago we also saw a real heart attack situation where the father never expected to suddenly die. He never changed his Will, like he told his children he would, and it created a severe family rift.

I never bullied clients to take action, but sometimes I feel I did them a dis-service. So please if you are advising clients, please gently get them  to take appropriate action before it’s too late.


This is not in the dictionary. It is my definition of the fear of writing a Will. The bizarre situation is that there are people that have a fear of writing a Will. I don’t get to meet them often, but I do talk to them!

The fear seems to run along the theme that if they write a Will they will suddenly drop down dead. Some of us have a fear of dying, but in it’s extreme version this is a real and serious condition and is known as death anxiety or thanatophobia (that is in the dictionary). I would not deny this can be life-limiting and may require therapy.  Sometimes a married or partnered person is not writing a Will simply because their partner has this fear, the net result is that neither of them have Wills!

39822932 - be brave and face your fears text written on notebook page, red pencil on the right

I want to assure you the process of writing a Will is painless and sometimes even a pleasure. You don’t even have to go to a scary old Dickensian lawyer. Most people are relieved to have at last put their affairs in order.  So please think about your family, face your fears and we will be gentle and understanding.




Effect of marriage and divorce on Wills

Firstly Divorce…

It should be noted that a will is NOT revoked on divorce, BUT

  • Any provisions appointing the former spouse as an executor or trustee take effect as if the former spouse had died.
  • Any property or interest in property bequeathed to a former spouse passes as if that former spouse had died.
  • Any gift to the former spouse lapses.

41099799 - portrait of a displeased couple sitting back to back on couch

Learning point. If anyone gets divorced they should rewrite their Will as the above can have unintended consequences. Don’t assume that the divorce lawyer will have considered updating the Will. In our experience this doesn’t happen. More often than not, the divorcee wants to get this changed if only to make a clean break from the past.


  • Under s18 of Wills Act 1837 (our favourite bit of legislation) a will is automatically revoked on marriage.
  • However under s18(3) you can make a will in “contemplation of marriage” to a certain named person. That Will is not revoked by marriage if the intention not to revoke the will is clear.

17161210 - just married couple sharing romantic moment

Learning point. One day someone can have a valid will, next day no valid Will, simply by marrying. We all see the point in this, as the new spouse should be considered. However in the modern world couples that are living together need to ensure that if they ever have a thought of marrying then they should write a will in “contemplation of marriage”. When you are enjoying wedding plans you generally don’t think about your death! The same applies to second marriages. A new will is not something that would be on your mind.

All of the above applies to same sex marriages despite the photo images!

In summary, any change to your relationship status, should be accompanied by a review of your Will. Simple stuff, often overlooked….