None of us want to think about life after we've gone. The trouble is, by ignoring it we make it harder for the people we leave behind. If you have property, assets and investments, are married or cohabiting, and have children or other financial dependents, then it is essential you start thinking about making your Will. It’s important you use an experienced professional who knows the legalities, such as legacies, inheritance tax, and Lasting Power of Attorney.
What having a Will means
Because your wishes are made clear, it makes it easier for your family to deal with your estate when you are no longer around.
A Will allows you to:
- Decide who receives your personal possessions and assets
- Appoint guardians for your dependents or children under 18
- Appoint someone you trust to act as executor and ensure your wishes are carried out
- Make gifts to a charity or friends who would not benefit otherwise
- Set out your funeral arrangements
- Make sure the government doesn’t decide what happens to your assets, quite possibly against your wishes and you minimise any Inheritance Tax
- Help preserve the family’s legacy
Bringing an existing Will up-to-date
If it’s been a while since you wrote a Will, chances are things have changed in your life.
It’s important to review your Will regularly or it could turn out to have things in it that don’t make sense any more. It is likely that your circumstances have changed and you might be surprised if you take a look at what you wrote a few years ago.
Things to consider:
• The value of your estate may have changed
• You may have had children or grandchildren
• You may now have a partner
• You may have got married, or divorced
• You may want to give something to charity
What does not having a Will mean?
Many of us think about making a Will, yet only a small percentage of the population has actually done so.
Writing a Will puts you in charge, otherwise there’s a law from 1925 that decides who inherits your possessions if you die without a Will and, even though this was updated in 2014, can do the opposite to what your wishes may be.
Things to consider:
- Who would look after your children if they were under 18?
- How can the costs associated with the administration (probate) of your estate be reduced?
- If your wife or husband remarries after your death, would your children still inherit what you want them to?
- Is your estate likely to be affected by Inheritance Tax – and what can you do about it?
- Who will make decisions for you if you become incapable of doing so yourself through illness or an accident?