The Importance of a Will
The increasing complexity of modern life styles has made Wills and Estate Planning more important than ever before. Partnerships and second marriages are common; estate valuations are often larger than expected due to house prices. The threat of inheritance tax, nursing home care fees, loss of right to occupy, loss of state benefits and the possibility of our children not inheriting at all, make having a Will so, so important!
Without a Will ….. Married people
If you die without having made a Will, the Intestacy Rules will be applied in an arbitrary manner. A spouse may not receive the whole of the estate but may have to share the estate with her children. If there are no children then this may lead to your spouse having to share your estate with relatives (e.g. brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews) ones perhaps, you never intended to benefit from your estate.
Without a Will ….. Partners
Under the Rules of Intestacy there are no provisions for partners; the estate of the deceased partner would by-pass the other partner and go immediately to the decease’s children or family.
Home-Made’ Wills …..
Many of these Wills are unsuitable for handling the estate. Many omit to provide for a substitute if the main beneficiary does not survive, they fail to take advantage of tax savings and they will not protect the home from care home fees and often refer to assets not owned at death. Around 16,000 Wills each year are rejected by probate; many of these are ‘Home-Made’ Wills.
A Properly Drafted Will …..
A properly drafted Will – should take into account inheritance tax issues – should protect the home from nursing home care fees – should give security of tenure to each other and guarantee the children will inherit. In addition Executors, Trustees and Guardians will be appointed, details of any gifts and their beneficiaries, pets cared for, trusts inserted, funeral arrangements made etc.
Maintained Wills …..
Having gone to all the trouble of having a Will carefully drafted, it is important to make sure the Will is kept current. Wills should be reviewed at least every 3 to 5 years; failure to review a Will may mean that a Will no longer reflects current wishes. Wills not only require updating due to personal and/or family circumstances but are also subject to changes in legislation, budgets, trust law and tax. Secure storage with Full Aftercare (free updates as and when required) is strongly advised.