The importance of a Will


We all know that we should have a Will in place but amazingly still, 2 in 3 people in the UK do not have an up to date Will in place and risk their Estate being distributed and possibly even going to the crown on their demise. Dying intestate (not having a valid Will in place) can mean serious consequences for your Estate.

We face choices every day of our lives. Some choices we make rationally, some we make emotionally. Making a Will should not only be an emotional choice but a rational one as well. You can help control what you leave even after you are gone.

Many people believe that they ‘don’t have anything to leave’ but the reality is that your Will doesn’t just distribute your assets.

Your Will can cover:

  • Who will look after your children
  • Who distributes your Estate
  • What age your beneficiaries will inherit
  • Your funeral wishes
  • A list any specific gifts you wish to leave
  • Trusts to protect certain assets
  • Excluding people that you do not wish to benefit from your Estate

 

Imagine inheriting large sums of money on your 18th birthday, most young adults are not mature enough to deal with large sums of money at such a young age. Including a trust within a Will ensures that any money or assets they inherit will be put to good use by appointing trustees to manage the Estate until they reach a specified age.

People of all ages die or lose mental capacity every day. Whatever your age, if you have assets such as a house, savings or a business and you also have children or other people who need looking after, good Estate planning is highly recommended, considerations should be given to having a valid Will, Lasting Power of Attorney and even a funeral plan to save your family the worry and expense at such a difficult time.

Leaving these important decisions to the state to decide could mean losing control of the things you have worked hard for and part of the Estate going to the Crown.

 

If you are in any of the following situations you should have a Will:

  • Married, engaged, living with your partner or in a civil partnership
  • Divorced, separated or widowed
  • Have children or are expecting children, whether with a current partner or not
  • Own a property or more than one property
  • Have specific assets or possessions you would like to go to particular people

9 out of 10 of you will fall into one of the above categories!


What is a Will?

A Will is a legal document detailing what you would like to happen to your assets and guardianship of your children, ensuring that the things you have worked hard for are left for your loved ones, your children are looked after by the people you trust and making sure that your wishes are heard.

Arranging a Will makes sorting your affairs easier for everyone involved, having a Will in place can offer protection and peace of mind to protect the risk of your children being disinherited after your death in the event of your spouse remarrying.

  • Guardianship: In the absence of a Will it would be the Courts/Social Services who decide where your children are best placed, and it might not be with whom you thought would look after and raise your children. By making a Will with Guardians named for your children you can avoid this uncertainty. You should also consider putting in place life insurance to provide for your children in the event of your death. Consider this – it could be very difficult if one day two children turn up on your doorstep expecting to be looked after until they are 18 and there is no money there to fund them!
  • Unmarried Couples: There is no automatic transfer of assets between couples who are cohabiting. Other than jointly owned assets, which would pass to the surviving owner on first death in law, all other assets could pass back to the deceased’s family under intestacy rules. In practicality it is unrealistic to expect your deceased partner’s family to come asking for his/her DVD collection, but a Will formally arranges your affairs after death and avoids problems later.
  • Separated but not yet divorced: A Will should be written in view of the divorce going ahead as there is a possibility in law that, in the event of your death, your assets could pass back to your ex-partner. Although you are separated, even if you split up with them years ago, in the eyes of the law your ex-partner may still be entitled to your Estate after your death. Once your divorce comes into effect, you will need to write a new Will as getting a divorce automatically revokes any previous Wills.
  • If you have been married previously or you don’t trust/like your spouse’s family: You might care to write your Will so that in the event of you both dying together your assets do not end up passing to your spouse’s family. For example, if you were killed in a car crash, in the eyes of the law the eldest person is deemed to have died first. It is, therefore, possible that in their Wills they leave all their assets to their families – you could see your assets momentarily pass to your spouse before passing straight to their family. Is this what you want to happen?
  • To allocate assets between different people: You may wish to leave jewellery to a niece or leave war medals to a grandson. A Will can formalise all these gifts and help prevent family arguments – remember this – family and money rarely mix!
  • A Will can be used to make assets skip a generation: It may be that you feel that your own children are financially successful in their own right. Passing assets to them on your death may be of no benefit and could simply compound their own Inheritance Tax problems later by artificially expanding their Estates. If this is the situation, then why not leave your Estate to benefit your grandchildren, or even great-grandchildren if that is the case.

Trusts

Trusts are usually set up for one of the following reasons:

  • To hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary until they reach a specified age. Doing so allows for the property or money to be properly managed until the beneficiary is old enough legally to take possession of it, or is at a stage where they are more likely to be financially responsible. Some types of trust allow the beneficiary to receive an income from the property.
  • To provide for your spouse while keeping the Estate intact to be passed to your children.
  • To protect the family home from being sold in order to pay for residential care.

Planning a Will

  • Make a list of the names and addresses of the beneficiaries, executors, trustees and guardians. You should choose people whom you know well and trust.
  • Think about extended family and friends
  • Think about charities you may wish to benefit
  • Consider your funeral wishes
  • Consider how much of your Estate you would like each person or group to inherit
  • Note any particular items, e.g. jewellery and pictures, that you want to give to specific people
  • Note those you don’t want to benefit from your Estate
  • It’s important to store your Will in a safe place such as a safety deposit box or fireproof and waterproof safe
  • It is essential to let your executor(s) know where the Will is stored as it will only be valid if found safe and secure

 

AdviserWill can offer a fully insured Will storage service where it is stored in our waterproof and fire-rated safe. We will send you and each of the executors a Will Storage Certificate, which means your Will can be readily available when needed.

Already have a will?

You should have your Will periodically reviewed professionally, especially if your life situation changes or key people involved need changing.

It is important to remember that a Will is only a snapshot of your current circumstances so having it reviewed will minimise the risk to you and your family, ensuring that your personal wishes are up to date and your Estate can be properly administered and distributed.

At Everystep Financial we have a team of dedicated experienced Will Writers to guide you through the process of getting your Will in place.

Prices start from just £125 for a standard Will

Everystep Financial
6 Ashcombe Road
Weston-super-Mare
BS23 3DY
01934 550046
info@esifa.co.uk

EveryStep Financial

EveryStep Financial