Do yourself and your family a real favour

For some the thought of their demise is so unpalatable they avoid thinking about it at all, failing to plan or make provision for their family. I sometimes wonder whether the 62% of adults in the UK who don’t have a Will realise the consequence; that their nearest and dearest may have no say in what happens to their property and possessions after they have gone. It seems unlikely that this is their intention. Most I am sure would want some say in what their loved ones received, whether in money or keepsakes.

Here are 5 steps you can take now to take some of the worry away for your friends and family:

1.) Make sure you have a Will and that it is up to date.

If you have married, had children or got divorced since your Will was made it’s unlikely to accurately reflect your wishes now. It is recommended that you review your Will on a regular basis, at least every 3 -5 years.
Just because you are unmarried or have no dependants that doesn’t mean a Will is irrelevant. Many couples who live together are shocked to learn that if their partner dies their estate will not automatically go to them, if there is no Will.

2.) Consider trusts to protect your wealth.

There was a time in the early 1900s when Trusts, or trust funds as they were often referred to, were only for the landed gentry. That is no longer the case. With most people now owning their own home and building up savings and other assets over their lifetime there is nearly always something worth protecting with a trust. The protection offered by Trusts is manyfold. They can be used to save on inheritance tax liability for your beneficiaries. They are useful to make sure your wealth passes down to your side of the family in the case of second or third marriages and Trusts can be very useful for limiting access to funds by young people unready for the responsibility of inheritance.

3. Give your blessing while you still can.

One of the unfortunate situations I come across from time to time is where a family member is distraught because their loved one is no longer able to make important decisions for themselves, and they are told they have no rights to make important decisions or take actions on their behalf. By putting in place a lasting power of attorney whilst you are well enough to do so, you can choose the people you trust to take care of your finances and welfare, making it much easier on your family at what can already be a very difficult time.

4. Keep your Will safe.

Let your family, your trustees and executors know where your Will can be found. Many people keep their Will at home but ideally you need to make sure it is secure and safe from fire or floods. National Will Safe is a central storage facility which will securely store your Will so that it can be found when needed.

5. Spread the word.

If your friends and family haven’t made a Will you can help them, and help me in my quest to see the 2/3rd of adults who die each year intestate. Share this article with them if you think it might help. Last year alone the Treasury benefited to the tune of £53 million which might instead have gone to family and friends of those who died without making a Will.

The most important thing is that you, your family and friends have put plans in place and you are fully protected and your wishes will be heard.

If I can help in reviewing your Will or your friends and family need help with Estate Planning contact us today!

Fact is stranger than fiction:

Strange but true…

Jimi Hendrix died in 1970 at the age of 27 without making a Will. A 25 year legal battle eventually saw his father, Al take control of his estate and create a number of companies and trusts in the Hendrix name. When Al died in 2002 the estate was worth $80 million and went almost entirely to Al’s adopted daughter, with nothing for Jimi’s brother Leon, or his family.

Amy Winehouse died in 2011 without a Will, meaning her £3 million fortune went to her parents.

When eccentric millionaire Howard Hughes died in 1976 at the age of 70 a will was discovered at the headquarters of the Mormon Church in Salt Lake City. The will, however, was proved to be a forgery and his estate was divided among his 22 cousins.

Actor Heath Ledger made a Will before his death in 2008 but the Will left nothing for his daughter, because it was made before her birth.

TV Presenter Jill Dando had not made a Will, meaning her fiancé received nothing from her estate after her death.

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