Writing a will is essential for a myriad of reasons, especially when it comes to ensuring that your estate is distributed after your death in a way that represents your final wishes. Without a will in place, your loved ones may have to make complex legal arrangements at an already distressing time.
A bloodline will is invaluable as far as securing your estate and financially protecting your family is concerned, whether it is your savings, business, property, heirlooms or any possessions which are of material and emotional importance to you.
A common misconception is that your assets are sufficiently covered for with a basic will, when the reality is that your estate could still be inherited by the wrong people if any problems were to arise. A bloodline will, however, is an effective solution to these concerns because it protects your life’s legacy from anyone who isn’t related to you by blood.
In this essential guide, we cover everything there is to know about bloodline wills and whether or not they are the right choice for you.
What is a bloodline will?
Essentially, a bloodline will is quite similar to a basic will except that it establishes a trust in order to keep your estate in your bloodline. This means that in the event of your death, your possessions can only be inherited by your descendants. The beneficiaries of your estate, therefore, will always be your children, your children’s children, and so on.
Ultimately, a bloodline will guarantees that your estate will remain in the hands of your blood relatives. Unfortunately, simply leaving everything to your children in your basic will doesn’t guarantee that your estate will be inherited by your children, grandchildren and their children thereafter. In order for this to be an absolute certainty, you have to establish a bloodline trust within your will.
What is a bloodline trust?
In legal terms, a trust is an arrangement wherein a trustee is appointed to manage the assets on your behalf for the chosen beneficiaries. Whereas a will becomes effective after death, a trust will become effective in your lifetime upon signing it. A discretionary trust is a trust wherein the trustees you appoint will decide which beneficiaries receive anything from the trust, how much and when.
A bloodline trust is a category of discretionary trust, and it protects your children’s or grandchildren’s inheritance from any threats or influences from third parties. The trustee ensures that your assets cannot be accessed by anyone who isn’t related to you, keeping your possessions in the bloodline for generations to come.
Bloodline wills vs basic wills
Generally, bloodlines wills are quite similar to basic wills with regards to their terms and conditions. There is one critical difference, however, which is the additional trust they contain which stipulates that your legacy has to remain within your family. An example of a relatively simple will is a mirror will, which are individual wills typically made by a couple that are intended to be practically identical concerning what they want to happen to their estate when they both pass on.
The issue with a mirror will, however, is that in complicated situations or if problems were to arise afterwards, there is no way of guaranteeing that your descendants will inherit your estate once you have both passed on. A bloodline will, however, guarantees this regardless of the circumstances.
How do they work?
In order to establish a bloodline will, it is recommended that you consult with a lawyer for professional advice and guidance. Once the will is in place, you have to appoint trustees to decide whether, when and to whom your assets should be released upon your death. In order for your beneficiaries to access your assets, they have to demonstrate that it will support their maintenance, education and/or health.
Your child can even be the trustee themselves, or share this responsibility with another independent trustee. They can resign from this position whenever they want. It is important to keep in mind that if your child is ever in a divorce or lawsuit they will be removed from this responsibility automatically, and reinstated only once everything has been resolved.
Are bloodline trusts a good idea?
Many people who create a will expect that their children and grandchildren will always be the beneficiaries, but unfortunately, this isn’t necessarily the case. Divorce, debt, injury and premature death can potentially jeopardise your estate, which could then be distributed to people who are not related to you such as ex-partners, care providers or debt collectors.
A bloodline will is a good idea for several reasons. For example, if you or your partner have any children from previous relationships. Alternatively, you may feel that the partner of one of your children is reckless and irresponsible, or that your child’s marriage may end in divorce. Another situation would be if your child’s partner has children from a previous relationship. In these circumstances considering a bloodline trust is definitely worthwhile.
Making the right decision
Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of bloodline trusts is critical to deciding whether or not they are the appropriate choice for you.
- Ensures your legacy can only be inherited by your children and grandchildren.
- These assets can never be accessed by current or ex sons and daughters-in-law, either during the marriage or the divorce, through distribution or alimony.
- The trust terminates upon your child’s death and remaining assets can only be inherited by your child’s descendants.
- You and your family will have complete confidence and peace of mind.
- Only you have the authority to revoke the trust, and only during your lifetime.
- Setting up a bloodline will can be a complex and expensive process.
- The legal ownership of your assets lies with the trustees, meaning that your beneficiaries will not have unlimited and immediate access.
- These assets can only be used for the health, education, maintenance and/or support of your beneficiaries.
How much does a bloodline will cost?
Due to the level of protection and oversight they provide, the complexity and administration which is required for bloodlines wills means that they are more expensive than basic wills. The precise cost of establishing a bloodline trust varies on an individual basis, and it usually depends upon the level of detail which is required as well as the value of the actual estate in question. Additional expenses to keep in mind include legal fees and potential taxes.
Tax implications to consider
Before making a decision, it is important to understand any tax implications. Usually, if you leave your estate to a direct descendant after your death, you may be entitled to claim the residence nil rate band. This is an additional tax-free allowance that you can claim as long as your beneficiaries are your children or grandchildren, and at the moment it is £1 million.
If you are leaving your estate in a bloodline trust, however, then you will have to pay tax because you are no longer entitled to the residence nil rate band. What’s more, the taxation of any discretionary trust is steep, and the tax treatments can be difficult to understand. For example, there may be charges not only when the trust is set up, but at ten yearly intervals and even when the assets are distributed as well.
How to make a will and set up a trust
The protections, assurances and peace of mind which are provided by Bloodline Wills and Trusts are considerable, but they are also complex legal procedures that require careful consideration. Before making a decision, it is always advised to consult with a legal professional so that they can work with you in order to ensure the most ease and comfort for you and your loved ones.
The priority is ensuring that only your final and true wishes are followed after your death, so that your estate and legacy is used in the way which is most meaningful and worthwhile for you.