Five key reasons why it’s important to have a valid Will

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1. Who do you want to inherit your assets?

Without a Will, rules of intestacy dictate who gets your estate and this may not be the people you would want or possibly not in the proportions you would like. A surviving spouse may not receive the whole of the estate and will instead, have to share with the children. An unmarried partner does not automatically receive anything. Both of these can cause serious unintended financial problems for the surviving spouse or partner.

Furthermore, specific assets will not pass to the particular people you might have wanted to inherit whether that be personal items or even a family business.

A will enables you to leave specific legacies of money or items to nominated people including charitable bequests.

2. Why pay unnecessary Inheritance Tax?

A properly structured will can enable you to utilise and maximise reliefs against Inheritance Tax such as the nil rate band, the new residential nil rate band and business property relief.

3. Who do you want to manage your estate?

In the terms of the will you can choose who you want as your executors (the people that administer your estate), your trustees if there is going to be a trust under your will and guardians for minor children. Being an executor can be fraught with potential issues and can cause tension between family members at an upsetting time. A friend or professional advisor are often appointed either instead of or in conjunction with family members.

4. Maximise your childrens’ inheritance

Leaving all of your estate to a spouse or partner relies on them passing this on to your children. If they were to re-marry or enter into a relationship with someone after your death, they may leave their (and by this stage your) estate to their new partner which can result in you disinheriting your own children. This is particularly problematic with second marriages with children from previous marriages and relationships.

Your will could also leave assets to children at a stipulated age thereby protecting them and the money from being inherited too early.

A trust can also help protect the inheritance from your children getting divorced and their spouse being entitled to half.

Not leaving the whole of your estate directly to a spouse can also help protect against care home fees and a trust written into your will can help with this.

5. Reduce the cost of administering your estate

Without a will the process can be more time consuming and expensive.

Part of the process of making a will involves looking at your estate planning and whether you have powers of attorney in place. These can prove invaluable as health declines in old age and can help to relieve the family’s stress at a difficult time.

The cost of administering an intestate estate often exceeds the cost where a will is in place.

If you would like to discuss making a will, the benefits of Powers of Attorney or Inheritance Tax mitigation please do give Sue Stephens a call.