MARRIED COUPLES – with CHILDREN On the death of one or both parties upon making a Will.

Jack and Sarah are a professional couple. They are both employed by major companies who provide additional staff benefits on top of the staff salary.

Jack ( 50 ) earns £75,000 pa.    Jane ( 45 ) earns £35,000 pa.

While they were living together for 5-years, they had their daughter Jane, who is now 18. Upon her birth they decided to get married and later followed up with other children, Mark who is now 14 and Matthew who is now 12.

It had always been in their mind to make a Will after Jane was born, except; they could never figure out who should be their child’s guardian, would they be liable to inheritance tax, and what is to happen should one of them die while they are still relatively young and then the survivor re-marry –  amongst other potential scenarios.  It seemed easier to put it off till later.

It was that terrible airplane crash which killed all on-board over the Sahara desert in the news on Tuesday that jogged them into action. They themselves were planning to holiday in Mauritius in August this year, so they decided to sit down and put their heads together and  ‘just do it’.

They worked out their estate at £935,000.     It included:

( 1 )        A 3-bed detached house valued a £750,000 ( it had gone up a lot in since they moved in 7 years ago and neighbours John and Mary at number 22, had just sold their similar property to move to USA after John got a new job.

( 2 )        Various savings and investments of £65,000.

( 3 )        Cars and jewellery of £120,000.

( 4 )        The mortgage would be repaid on death of either of them.

And, they had read that, because they were married to each other, and had natural children, they are eligible for the newly introduced RESIDENTIAL NIL RATE BAND inheritance tax allowance, on top of the personal ‘INHERITANCE TAX ALLOWANCE’.  They calculated their estate as less than £1,000,000.  So they would not have to worry over any inheritance tax affecting their legacy to the children.  ( Tax year of 2017-18 ).

On that basis, they decided that they only need to make a Standard Family Will.  So they researched a few local firms where their bank service seemed the best.  It gave a lot more brochure information and it looked simple – just a form to fill in.

What Jack and Sarah didn’t know was…

In Wills and Estates, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.  What appears simple on the surface may not always be so, when examined up close.  Jack and Sarah’s assumptions and analysis was flawed, with contradictions throughout their calculations and ideas.

Several very important points were missed, misunderstood or assumed – e.g. their employment history, their pension provisions, their employee benefits, their mortgage life-cover arrangements, -and- the RESIDENTIAL NIL RATE BAND inheritance allowance of £1,000,000 does not come into play fully, until the tax year 2020-21 – amongst other points.

This new information made the total of their ‘joint estate’ at £1,833,000.  Almost DOUBLE what they had figured.  ( Most people underestimate their true worth. )

The end result is therefore; that what appeared an easy ‘no inheritance tax’ position, had completely changed to one with a TAXABLE ESTATE of £853,000 and hence a TAX LIABILITY of £341,200  – assuming Jack were first to die.


If Jack and Sarah’s Standard Will remained unchanged, the children would lose a lot of their legacy to the taxman and others.

And; in addition to the tax bill, there would be the bank’s executor and probate expenses, along with lots of other charges for loans with which to pay this tax.  The bill in addition to the inheritance tax, potentially coming in at:  £180,000.

What Jack and Sarah had believed – assumed – about keeping the costs of a Will down, would actually result in much larger costs to the family and a significant loss in inheritance to the children that they wanted so much to benefit.

The good news is that Edmunds & Eve explore the questions and situations that other providers are not experienced in.  We focus on preserving family wealth while making the experience stress free in Plain English.


On the death of one or both parties upon making a Will.

If Jack and Sarah were married and did not have children when they died, then the RESIDENTIAL NIL RATE BAND inheritance allowance would not apply.  That would increase the tax bill by a further £80,000 in this tax year – ( 2017 – 18 ).  Whereas by the tax year 2020-21, it would increase the bill by £140,000 – assuming that the INHERITANCE TAX RATE remains at 40%.


  1. […] understand how this example relates to your wishes and circumstances, please see MARRIED COUPLES first, and then match the differences between that, and the discussion […]

  2. […] understand how this example relates to families, please see MARRIED COUPLES and COHABITING COUPLES then match the differences to the discussion […]

  3. […] understand how this example relates to families, please see MARRIED COUPLES and COHABITING COUPLES then match the differences to the discussion […]

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