New Year’s Resolution
Now is a good time as ever to start a new year’s resolution, with a list of things we want to achieve in the coming months, but have you considered and included making a Will to your list, and just why should you?
A Will is an important legal document, which enables the person making the Will (otherwise known as the testator), to specify how they would like their assets (monies / property) to be distributed on their death.
Here are some key features / reasons for writing a Will:
- Appoint guardians to look after dependents / minors (children under the age of 18)
- Instruct executors to handle the estate and distribute assets on death
- Include gifts (monies or specify certain items to be gifted) to family members, friends or even charities (also known as beneficiaries)
- Include provisions for pets
- Gifting of properties
- Specify funeral arrangements
- Exclude individuals, for example estranged children (can be documented in the Will)
- Inclusion of various Trusts (within the Will)
- Specify instructions of how the estate should be distributed (with named beneficiaries)
- Beneficial in Inheritance tax planning
* On death (if there is no Will), it would be deemed to have died ‘intestate’, meaning the rules of intestacy will govern who will receive the estate, and therefore not necessarily those loved ones (those wished to benefit / inherit from the estate). This may also not be the most tax-efficient way.
** Protection from third party claims should be considered when writing a Will, such as divorce, bankruptcy and sideways disinheritance etc…
*** Individuals in Civil Partnership relationships should consider (unfortunately, there is no provision for unmarried couples benefiting under the laws of intestacy), so a provision in the Will can / should be made.
Once a Will has been written, it should ideally be reviewed every two – three years, or at the very least when there is a change in personal circumstances i.e., marriage or the birth of any children.
The Will should be stored somewhere safe, where it cannot be easily lost or damaged and executors should know where it can be found. The benefit of storing your Will in a dedicated, secure facility ensures it can be easily found (if someone should die), and importantly, so it is not accidentally lost or damaged, tampered with, or even destroyed deliberately by someone else who may have an ulterior motive (yes, unfortunately this does happen). Any updated Wills and other supporting documentation like a letter of wishes can also be stored there.
We do offer a dedicated safe storage facility – please do contact us if you require more information.
As estate planning specialists we can advise on individual circumstances, and those more complex (such as large estates), and issues such as probate, which can be time consuming, stressful and expensive. Through our expertise, we can strategically plan to help avoid an estate with having to go through probate, saving time, unnecessary stress and legal fees.
We offer free, no obligation thirty-minute consultations, including a complimentary Will review, which can be arranged by phone or virtually, or a home / office visit (with PPE and under social distancing guidelines).
To pre-arrange a consultation, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 01902 271951.