Why should I have a will?
With a Will that states your own wishes you can make arrangements that would not be possible if you were to die intestate (without a will). Including choosing a specific person(s) or company to administer your estate. Executors, act on your instruction as to what is to happen to specific assets, Including, protecting your assets from being used to pay for Long Term Care fees and specifying who should be the guardians (replacement parents) of your young children. And achieving your tax and estate planning objectives.
What happens if I die without a Will?
This is called dying intestate this will affect the distribution of your estate in a number of ways. Firstly, the court will appoint a person to administer your assets this will not usually be someone you would have chosen..The cost of this administration will be higher many banks and solicitors charge over 5% to administer a estate, your estate will be dispersed by a set of fixed rules, irrespective of your intentions or the needs of the beneficiaries, they will automatically pay all amounts out to your heirs as soon as they turn 18 years of age even if you would not have deemed that appropriate.. In the meantime the ability of the, trustees to manage the investments on behalf of minors is limited with the Children’s Lawyer, a government appointee, administering the share for a child. If you have children your spouse may not inherit everything.
Can I make my own will?
In England and Wales you are able to write your own will, beware there are many traps for the unqualified person which could result in your estates assets passing to persons not intended by you to receive them, this could be because key Will provisions are invalid, or because the person’s choice of words runs contrary to a legal rule or principle. What may seem logical to you relating to your circumstances may not work in different circumstances and therefore cannot be allowed because of this ambiguity. The best advice is to instruct a professional Will writer to take your instructions and translate them into legally correct provisions in your Will.
I’m not married but live with a partner – what happens to my estate?
You estate will be distributed as per the law of intestacy If you are living with a partner and are not married to them, he/she will not be able to keep anything that belongs to you.
Doesn’t my spouse get everything when I die anyway?
These rules of intestacy state that your spouse, if you have children, gets only the first £250,000, including the value of your house (if the house is worth more than £125,000 this may have to be sold) If you were to die without a will intestate the law determines who gets your assets and how much.. If you do not have children your spouse will get the first £450,000. Beyond that, things become more complicated.
Do I need to worry about taxes on my death?
If your assets total more than £325,000 your beneficiaries may be liable to pay 40% on everything over this amount. Remember this figure includes assets your estate acquires after your death you may be below this figure now but on death you have to add life insurance, possibly death in service payments and pension provisions. You should talk to a professional tax and estate planner who can give you good advice to limit your exposure to this tax on your death, through your will or by taking appropriate steps during your lifetime. It is possible to save thousands of pounds through simple cost effective measures.
I already have a Will. How often should it be reviewed?
Review your will whenever there have been changes in family circumstances (for example, births, deaths, disabilities, marriages, separation, or divorce) or if your wealth has changed significantly either an increase or a decrease. But changes in income tax or other laws may mean changes need to be made even if there have been no changes in your individual circumstances.
I was divorced recently, but how do I ensure that my ex-spouse does not receive anything under my will?
Although Divorce automatically revokes gifts to a former spouse and also removes that person as an executor if he or she was so appointed, unless otherwise provided for in the Will.By removing your ex-spouse, you will need to make other changes that may be appropriate as a consequence and you should therefore not rely solely on the revocation rule. Another consideration is if you do not make another Will, your executor will be obliged to notify your ex-spouse that an application for probate has been submitted to the court, and your former spouse may participate in the proceedings if he or she wishes. They may argue that your will indicates an intention that they should receive bequests under the will notwithstanding the divorce.
My wife and I have separated – do I need to change my will?
Making a will is a matter that should be attended to immediately upon separation. Your existing Will is not affected even with a Separation Agreement, which provides that your spouse will have no claim against you under your will.. However, your spouse may still have a claim against you under the relevant marital property laws.
If there are any terms that you do not fully understand refer to the glossary