I Ought To Make A Will
This is a common refrain yet only 36% of adults in England have a Will. We understand that making a Will may seem a worthy but dull – perhaps even slightly morbid thing to do – “it may never happen!”. We would encourage you not simply to make a Will but let us help you undertake a positive review of your affairs:-
- Ensure your Estate is distributed as you wish - Wills
- Ensure your affairs are managed as you wish in your old age, or in the event you lose capacity to do so yourself - Enduring / Lasting Powers of Attorney
- Ensure your affairs are arranged to minimise tax liabilities - Inheritance Tax Planning
The manner in which your Estate is distributed on death may not wholly depend on the terms of a Will. For example:-
(a) Land and property held jointly with another may pass to the co-owner automatically – depending on how ownership is recorded at the Land Registry.
(b) Life Insurance policies may have been assigned or written in Trust. In that event the proceeds will pass outside of your Estate.
(c) Other assets – such as pensions not yet in payment – may be paid to third parties depending on how you have arranged your affairs.
(d) It is conceivable that if your Will does not make appropriate provision for certain classes of dependants your Will would be subject to challenge through the Court.
It is important therefore that a Will is not prepared in isolation but instead is prepared as part of an overall review of your affairs.
Seven reasons to make a Will
If you die without a valid Will your Estate will be distributed according to the intestacy rules. These are complicated but consider:-
- If you are co-habiting the rules do not automatically make any provision for your partner
- If you are married with children your spouse will receive the first tranche of your Estate passing under the Will (at least £200,000.00) with your children receiving an interest in any value above that.
- If you are married for a second time the rules may not make the provision you choose for any children of a previous relationship.
- If you are divorced provision in any existing Will for your former spouse will automatically lapse.
- If you are single your Estate passes to your parents, surviving siblings – or if there are none to more remote relatives and ultimately in default of any to the state.
- If you are in business no account will automatically be taken of the needs of your business colleagues to allow for a transfer of the business to ensure that it continues in an orderly fashion.
- You may lose the opportunity to mitigate Inheritance Tax or determine the destination of your Estate for example leaving legacies to your preferred charities.
Other reasons for making a Will include:-
(a) To make specific gifts of money, chattels or personal belongings of a sentimental nature.
(b) To express particular wishes concerning burial, cremation, etc.
(c) To appoint a testamentary guardian for a minor child – an expression of wish by a parent as to who they wish to care for a child.
(d) To expressly appoint who you wish to entrust with responsibility for the administration of your Estate.
We would encourage you to undertake a review of your personal affairs. The following check list may assist:-
1. Review your personal and financial affairs regularly at least every five years and more frequently if:-
(a) You marry, divorce, take up or dissolve a civil partnership or co-habitation.
(b) You have children or grandchildren.
(c) A significant beneficiary or Executor predeceases you.
(d) You receive significant additional capital (such as an inheritance or lump sum from a life policy).
2. Consider how you would manage if you lost the ability to manage your own affairs during your lifetime. This merits very real consideration. You may wish to create a lasting Power of Attorney to nominate an individual. In default and in the event of your incapacity your affairs will be managed by a Receiver.
3. Ensure that your Executors have all the necessary information to easily locate all of your assets and have up to date addresses for your beneficiaries. Create a simple personal file to store copy Will and personal details. Download a Pro Forma from our website. Download Here
4. Have you considered tissue or organ donation? You may consider that this is worthwhile. Details are available from www.transplant.org.uk or we can give these to you when you are reviewing your Will. Make sure you notify G.P. Your medical advisers will wish to act speedily in the event that you pass away.
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