A simple Will? There’s no such thing

I’ve lost count of the number of times people have said to me: “My financial affairs are really straight-forward, all I want is a simple Will.”  I find myself explaining, in this day and age, there really is no such thing as a simple Will, and if you have one you may well find that you don’t achieve the end goals you were hoping for. Many couples for example think by having a standard mirror Will (one that leaves everything to their partner and on the death of the second party to the children) they have sorted out everything.

Unfortunately, this assumes that you’re not concerned about any of the following:

  • Your children losing out on their inheritance should your partner remarry and die without having made a new Will.
  • Putting your partner in a position where they may not be able to continue to live in the family home due to sizable inheritance tax bills.
  • Adding to the financial burden of your wealthy children by giving them more of an inheritance tax worry.
  • Your hard won wealth being lost when one of your children goes through divorce.
  • The inheritance never reaching your intended beneficiary, for example if they have been declared bankrupt the inheritance would pass straight to their creditors.
  • Making provisions for things like education for your younger children.

I am sure you would be concerned about these things, which is why a good Will should only be prepared once the Will writer has explored all of your circumstances and fully understood what you want to achieve by making a Will.

There are perfectly legal and proper ways that you can pay less in inheritance tax and you can protect the inheritance of your children from unscrupulous or estranged partners.  You can use things like ‘life interest’ to give the use of your assets to your partner in their lifetime but ensure they pass to your children when that partner dies. This has many different benefits but the most obvious one is that your children will not lose out should your partner remarry or make another Will.

The right Will, with appropriate trusts, gives you choice and security in today’s complex social and financial society.

If you are concerned that your Will may not fully protect your interests or feel it might need to be updated due to a change in your, or your family’s circumstances please contact us.

Estate Planning Terminology Explained

The Office of Public Guardian and Deputy

Who would make decisions about your finances or property if you were to suffer a serious accident or illness or become too elderly to manage your affairs?   Unless you have made provision with a Lasting Power of Attorney the answer is someone appointed by the Office of Public Guardian as your Deputy.   Our advice is don’t leave this to chance.

Tips from the experts – How to put your financial affairs in order

We recommend that all our clients run through this list of questions at least once every 12 months, to highlight areas where they might need to take action in order to protect or improve their financial health.

Relationships

  • Did you get married or divorced in the last 12 months?
  • Have you appointed guardians for your children?
  • Have you considered getting married to avoid inheritance tax if you intend to leave assets to each other?

Your Will

  • Do you have one?  Has it been reviewed within the last 5 years?
  • Does your Will protect your assets to benefit your family?
  • Have you checked that any trusts in your Will are tax efficient?

Health & Care

  • Have you made an enduring or lasting power of attorney?
  • Have you put in place provision to pay for long term care should it be needed?

The exercise of considering each of these questions will help you to understand whether your financial affairs have been adequately reviewed and if you need our help please contact us.

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