From long experience F Barnes can say that, even if only a simple Will is involved, merely to call us to discuss the matter often brings to mind some forgotten issues. A friendly discussion with a member of our team can often anticipate events which have not even been contemplated.
DID YOU KNOW over 70% of the adult population do not have a Will. Those who do may not have updated them for a considerable time to take into account their changing family or financial situation.
The government has laid down laws on succession called The Rules of Intestacy that will govern what happens to your assets should you die intestate (i.e. without a will). Very often these rules do not reflect what people would ideally wish to happen.
The Inheritance and Trustees Powers Act 2014 came into effect on the 1st October 2014. This represents one of the most significant changes to Intestacy and Family Provision Law in a generation.
It is therefore important that you make clear what you would like to happen by creating a will.
Important things to consider before making a Will:
- Make a List – This should include assets such as your home, car, money held in bank accounts, shares and any other items of value such as antiques or collectibles. This will help the solicitor advise you on any tax implications. Identify assets held in your sole name & those jointly held with another.
- Who do you trust to carry out your wishes? -Think about whom you would like to appoint as your Executors. These are the people who carry out your wishes in the Will and organise for any property to be sold and bank accounts closed. There should be at least two Executors and F Barnes can act as your Executors in the absence of a suitable friend or family member. Ideally, your Executor should be the same age or younger than you.
- Who would you like to look after your children if both parents have passed away?
- If you pass away leaving children under the age of 18 you can nominate guardians in your Will to take over responsibility of the children until they reach 18. This is often important if both parents pass away at the same time or you are the sole living parent.
- Who would you like to leave your Estate to?
- You now need to decide whom you wish to leave your estate to. This can be in the form of cash gifts i.e. £500 to my grandson and also personal gifts such as jewellery to a daughter. You must also decide who your residue passes to. Residue is everything you own after payment of debts, taxes and gifts of money or personal items. You can leave this as to whomever you wish friends, family, charity or other organisation.
An existing Will should be updated if any of the following take place:
- Change in your financial circumstances i.e. you inherit from a family member
- Death of a family member, divorce or marriage of yourself or a family member mentioned in your Will
- If you have new additions to your family you would like to provide for such as grandchildren, or great grandchildren.
F Barnes recommends that you seek professional help and act TODAY to ensure that:
- Your assets go to your family and don’t end up in the hands of distant relatives or even THE CROWN
- Decide who looks after your affairs and assets after you die
- Name guardians to look after your children if you die before they reach their majority
- Save your family the heartache of not knowing your wishes
- Consider Tax savings by writing your Will efficiently.
As a firm of Solicitors, our friendly straightforward advice will take account of the whole picture and provide you with immediate peace of mind. Our charges are usually £200 plus vat for a simple Will and £350 plus vat for mirror Wills prepared for the husband, wife or civil partner. We are DISTINGUISHED by our friendly and approachable manner, reasonable fees and commitment to exceeding client expectations.
Our Sangeet Tatem, Head of Wills and Probate department talks to Phoenix FM about the importance of making a Will and what you can do to mitigate the amount of Inheritance Tax you will pay. To watch click here