Making a Will - have you taken care of your affairs, or are you a Mr & Mrs We'll Do It Tomorrow?
10th December 2009
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<p>The headline of this article gets straight to the point and of course my intention is clear, to encourage you to read this short but very informative article because alarmingly, most of us do put off making a Will for all sorts of reasons.  Even more of us have done nothing to protect our assets for our family’s future benefit. Making a Will is really important and easy to do, so why not get on with it now?</p> <p>If you die without a legally valid Will in place the law of intestacy will decide who gets your possessions. You might have something to say about that, but if you’ve already departed this world, it’ll be a bit too late for that. We all know that ‘proper planning prevents poor performance’ so avoiding the issue isn’t a good idea, we all know that and by the way, making a Will is unlikely to bring on your demise, or at least I am unaware of any correlation between these two events, but don’t quote me!</p> <p>The simplest form of Will allows you to choose who will handle your affairs (your Executors), who will get your estate (your beneficiaries) and when they will get it (minors inheriting at 21 or 25 for example). If you have children under 18 you need to appoint legal guardians for them otherwise Social Services may well allocate them to foster parents immediately after your death. Also, don’t forget that if you intend to just leave it all to the cats or dogs (etc.) home that for a charity to benefit from your estate, you will need to include a legacy clause in your Will.</p> <p>Without a Will, the administration of your estate is very likely to cost more, take longer and leave your family with months of financial hardship and stress whilst someone, usually a solicitor or other professional tries to unravel things. Do be careful who writes your Will though because some professionals include a charging clause and appoint themselves as an executor as well as whoever you choose.  This means that when the Will is signed and witnessed they will be able to charge their standard rates for probate after you have died and that could be expensive, thereby reducing your family’s inheritance.</p> <p>Having any basic Will in place is a very good starting point.  The reality of your own circumstances however may mean that your Will may need to be a little more detailed or explicit and so you should consider the implications of the following areas; this list is not exhaustive:</p> <p><strong>Inheritance tax</strong> – doesn’t affect everyone, but if your estate is above the ‘nil rate band allowance’ (current tax year 2009/10 is £325,000 per person) you may not want to turn a blind eye to it knowing that you may be able to plan ahead now to legally avoid it altogether?</p> <p><strong>Long term care costs</strong> – this is a huge risk to us all particularly with the ageing population. If you need care at some point in the future and have assets in your own name above £23,000 (2009/10 tax year) the Local Authority has the power to make you pay your own way including a forced sale of the family home. It is effectively a 100% tax over this amount. Only if you plan early enough can you get around these devastating rules. Putting your estate in a Trust now can help protect it for future generations.</p> <p><strong>Probate costs</strong> – this is about handling your affairs after death and costs are typically 2-3% of the total value of your estate; you can work out how much that is yourself. This is how much a solicitor or other professional is likely to make from your estate and your family will get the rest. Why not ask us how to avoid these charges completely?</p> <p><strong>Families </strong>– of course can be quirky and create their own complexities, whether it is due to a sideways disinheritance (your spouse remarries after your death, then dies and the new spouse gets it all so disinheriting your own children), unreliable children who gamble, may be on drugs or simply fall out with you, all of these issues can lead to problems with your Will. Talk to us because it is likely we can help you to unravel things.</p> <p><strong>Business property relief</strong> – where applicable and in conjunction with a discretionary trust clause in your Will, you can pass on and preserve your Company in the most tax efficient way to whoever you want to own and run it, without paying any Inheritance Tax on it!</p> <p>All Will writers are not the same so whoever you choose, make sure they are trained and qualified, insured and regulated by a <a title="IPW Will Writing Code of Practice" href="" target="_blank"><strong><span style="color: #ff6600;">Code of Practice</span></strong></a> for your protection. All members of the <strong>Institute of Professional Willwriters</strong> (IPW) meet these criteria and provide a first class, honest and ethical service at a reasonable cost.</p> <p>If you want to know more about Wills and Estate Planning, please contact <strong>Rob Abell</strong> (MIPW ACMA) at <a title="Will Planning Solutions" href="" target="_blank"><strong><span style="color: #ff6600;">Will Planning Solutions</span></strong></a> or call <strong>01455 268 677</strong> for a free no obligation chat around your specific circumstances when making a Will or planning how best to protect your estate.</p>/7d3bc510-ce1d-47b2-ab12-8d7c993c2f2a.jpg/5a23fb89-a13d-4d24-b734-c642c2c9bee4.jpg
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