According to the BBC more than two thirds of UK citizens donâ€™t have a Will !Â As also highlightedÂ inÂ thisÂ link to This is Money article. BelowÂ is an article written by Christine Thornley, partner and joint head of the Wills, Trusts and Probate teamÂ at Gorvins Solictors in Stockport, Cheshire that I have reproducedÂ here with their permission. I hope that Christine’sÂ article provides someÂ food for thought asÂ thisÂ pdf chart showsÂ youÂ how the governmentÂ will distribute your assets if you pass away intestate – your family and loved ones may be excluded under these state rules.
Wills are about expressing your wishesÂ and helping your loved ones with future decisionsÂ and practical matters and having had to deal with the passing of my ownÂ parents the fact they had outlined their wishes made aÂ stressful timeÂ easier to deal with – you don’t have to be well off to leave a will and rising house values in the UK mean that many more people will become liable to inheritance tax.Â LookingÂ into making a will nowÂ is good timing asÂ OctoberÂ isÂ National Wills Month in the UKÂ whichÂ you can read more aboutÂ here. Over to Christine :-
“Itâ€™s easy to put off making a will. Thinking about what will happen after you die isnâ€™t exactly an appealing prospect and this might be why lots of people avoid the process. It is important to know when you shouldÂ make a will so you donâ€™t end up dying intestate and leaving your loved ones in a tricky and sometimes vulnerable situation. People worry about visiting a solicitorâ€™s office. For many years we having been trying to shake off the old impression of fuddy-duddiness and believe that clients now actually enjoy the experience which previously they thought to be depressing or dark.
Many people prefer to head for a firm of solicitors as this comes with the reassurance of professionals who have undergone structured and well regulated training over many years (and mandatory training on an ongoing basis), as opposed to employing a Will Writer who offer cut price wills but do not have the training or indeed experiences that a solicitor may have had. Especially if they have worked in a solicitors office as long as I have!Â A will can be very effective in reducing inheritance tax and protecting blood line inheritance.Â Making a WillÂ is about protecting your assets, not preparing for death!
If you donâ€™t make aÂ will your money and property will be distributed according to the Rules of Intestacy and this may not be entirely what you had hoped for, and it may have a detrimental effect on those that you leave behind. Do you have a child with a learning disability? Or do you really want your son or daughter to inherit as young as 18 â€“ arenâ€™t they vulnerable at that age? Have you thought about the impact on your family when faced with the prospect of selling your house to pay for nursing home fees?
Right or wrong the majority of families believe that the family home will be their inheritance but with the majority of the population living a lot longer this is not now the case. Contrary to what is assumed by the majority if you are married and die without a will the surviving partner will not automatically inherit all your estate. If you are unmarried your partner will not automatically receive anything and the impact ofÂ inheritance taxÂ can be greater for unmarried couples.
WillsÂ can be advantageous for a variety of reasons such as inheritance tax mentioned earlier but financially speaking you may be facing concerns in how best to provide for your family and in some cases it is either impossible or undesirable to pass assets outright to a person with a disability or to your spouse if they have been diagnosed with Alzheimerâ€™s or Parkinsonâ€™s. If your child is mentally disabled they will be unable to make the relevant financial decisions themselves, as would someone suffering in old age with Alzheimerâ€™s or Parkinsonâ€™s. Likewise physically disabled children under 18 also require someone to make sensible financial decisions on their behalf.
Without proper planning and guidance you can cause problems for your vulnerable beneficiary as any inheritance could have a huge impact on the level of means tested benefits they receive. Your child could lose the right to benefits such as Housing Benefit or Income Support as they are only allowed a minimum capital sum of ÂŁ6000. In addition, many vulnerable people are unable to manage their own finances particularly if they inherit a lump sum. This leaves them open to being taken advantage of, spending or giving away their inheritance rather than using it for their future.
So, consider making a Will incorporating aÂ TrustÂ to help with Inheritance tax, protecting your family home, protecting any vulnerable beneficiary. Donâ€™t put off making a will any longer, and when with your Solicitor ask them to explain aboutÂ Lasting Powers of Attorney!Â 21 July 2014″
NB Update Oct 2014
This Guardian article coversÂ some new rulesÂ that came into force on 1st OctoberÂ 2014 so discussing your affairs with a knowledgeable, professional is even more important. My Life PackÂ® personal organiser is just the thing to help you manage your paperwork and admin and manage your life and Section 10 helps you manage any will you have made, or executors details and make a record of your wishes and funeral planning. The tick columns in each section ofÂ our personal organiser also help you to manage life’s milestone events such as moving house or dealing woth probate. We hope you like reading our infoÂ and tips on a wide range of life management issues plus ideas on saving time, money and stress on ourÂ blog.