If you do not have a will when you die you are said to have died ‘intestate.’ This effectively means that a law made in the 1920’s will decide the order and the amounts that will pass to your relatives. Only a spouse or registered civil partner are recognised, so if you are not married then you have no automatic right to be considered; even then they are not guaranteed to benefit from all of your estate. You should also be aware that only relatives that have survived you will be considered.
From 1st October 2014 the rules are changing so that a spouse will receiving all of your estate if you do not have any children. However, if you do have children your spouse will get the first £250,000, all chattels, plus half of everything else absolutely. The children will get the rest in equal shares.
Did you know that if you have married, or remarried, your will is now invalid and you need to make a new one. (unless it clearly states that it was made ‘in anticipation’ of an impending marriage.)
Having a tax efficient will is the cornerstone of estate planning. We believe that this is an area far beyond just passing your lifetime’s wealth to your beneficiaries. You should always consider their position as well. With the age of majority now 18, are they capable of managing their affairs at such an early age. What if they divorce, do you want your money to be lost to in-laws or to remain within your family line, therefore benefiting your descendents.
We believe that a will is so much more than a vehicle to pass on your assets to the next generation. It should also look to pass as much or your wealth as possible so that your next of kin receive the benefit of your lifetime’s work, not the Inland Revenue or local authority.
A lasting power of attorney is now becoming an essential part of our lives. You will need one for somebody who no longer has the capacity to make decisions for themselves. There are two types, one to deal with financial affairs and a separate one to deal with health and welfare. They are both important, as without one the control of your loved ones assets and medical decision making is controlled by somebody else.
Losing a loved one is always a difficult time and if the value of their estate is more than £5,000 then you will need to apply for a Grant of Probate. Dealing with the Capital Taxes Office, applying for a grant of probate, collecting information on all monies, investments, insurance policies, property etc. and then doing a tax return with the Inland Revenue is quite often a daunting experience and best left to those who do it on a regular basis.
We believe that our Probate Service is second to none. We will allocate a dedicated member of staff who will be there to help you through this most difficult time and whose role is to manage the process in a calm and timely manner.
To find out more please follow the links to the left and give us a call to see if your current will can be improved.