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Wills & Mirror Wills

Did you know…

 

Over half of adults in the UK (around 60%) do not have Will. And those that do may have one that is not fit for purpose.

 

Consider this...

You have worked hard, cleared the mortgage and want to make sure that when you’re no longer here, your children or other loved ones will inherit your home and other assets. Without a valid Will you lose control and have no say over what happens to assets!  

 

Even if you do have a Will, your assets could still be at risk of ending up somewhere you hadn’t intended. If you haven't made provisions in your Will to address potential challenges your entire Estate could be at risk from creditors, or government legislation in respect of care home fees.  

 

What happens if you die and your partner remarries? This could mean that your estate is then inherited by their new partner

 

And what would happen if your surviving partner or spouse had debts in their name? Your entire estate could be at risk to their creditors.

 

If say both you and your partner or spouse die there are further risks to consider when leaving your estate to loved ones.

 

For example...

 

  • If your children or beneficiaries go through a divorce, then half of what you intended them to receive is at risk of divorce settlements. 

 

  • Your estate is likely to be directed by your Will to your chosen beneficiaries. This then adds to their own Estate and could impact on their own inheritance tax. 

 

  • If any of your beneficiaries are subject to creditors or claims, then the inherited Estate is at risk until the debt is cleared

  

There are important steps you need to take now before it's too late. People often leave things to chance and ignore the issue and it's loved ones that are left behind who stand to lose out. 

 

If only you knew …

 

What a Will does...

 

Executors 

 

A Will allows you to nominate who you would like to organise your affairs after you pass away - these are called executors and they will be the only people with the legal authority to deal with your banks, pensions, selling of your home & personal affects.  A lot of responsibility falls on the shoulders of the executor so we would recommend choosing carefully and discussing your decision with the nominated Executor/s

 

 

Beneficiaries 

 

Allows you to choose who you would like to inherit from your estate. You can also make a suggestion of the age you would like your beneficiaries to inherit. The minimum age that somebody can inherit is 18, however, not everybody is comfortable giving an 18 year old a lump sum of money and may wish to allow access at 21 or older.

 

 

Guardians

 

Your children's welfare is paramount,  so why leave  it to local authorities to decide where they live and how they are cared for? Should the worst happen to you & the other person with parental responsibility. A correctly drafted Will allows you to decide who should be responsible for the upbringing of your children. 

 

Trustees

 

Trustees can be appointed to manage the inheritance on a more long term basis. Once executors have carried out their duties they then hand over to the trustees (although these can be the same people should you wish). An example would be if you chose for a beneficiary to inherit at a certain age, the trustees would be responsible for looking after or investing their inheritance until your beneficiaries reach that age. Many more provisions or guidance can be offered to your trustees if you add a trust to your will.

 

Specific Gifts

 

A correctly drafted will allows you to leave specific gifts, sums of money or items of sentimental value to anyone that you wish. These are dealt with before the remainder (residue) of your estate is dealt with so you need to be aware of all of the options. 

What a simple Will can't do... 

 

Executors 

 

They have to execute the will as it is written so can't use their best judgement or discretion if any of your chosen beneficiaries are having financial difficulty, if there are concerns about addiction/substance abuse or if they are receiving means tested benefits. If you have concerns about this we would recommend looking into a trust to protect their inheritance.

 

Beneficiaries 

 

The beneficiaries that you nominate will inherit as per the terms of your Will(s). If you do not make special provisions then their inheritance could be lost to 3rd parties such as creditors or bankruptcy, long term care fees, fund their means tested benefits or passed on to a spouse that you may not approve of. If you have any concerns about the above, please speak to one of our consultants.

 

 

Guardians

 

Whilst you've covered the important question of who would care for your children upon your passing, careful consideration needs to be taken as to how their lifestyles will be funded. There are various options such as setting up a trust fund for their inheritance that can be managed by people that you trust (these can be independent from the guardians) or taking out a life insurance policy to give your guardians a lump sum to help with your children's day to day living.

 

Trustees 

 

You've chosen people that you trust to manage your estate - why not add a trust to your Will to allow them the flexibility to take each beneficiaries current circumstances into account and use their best judgement. Without a managed trust your beneficiaries would be seen to inherit at the point that your estate is executed. This could mean that if your beneficiary has more than £10,000 in their name then their benefits may be reduced or completely stopped if they have more than £16,000.  A correctly drafted trust could also stop the local authorities forcing the sale of your property should you or your spouse require long term care. If they separate from their partner they may also lose part of their inheritance in the settlement. 

 

Specific Gifts

 

You wish to leave specific gifts but careful consideration should be given to the wording of the gifts as many fail with an improper description or direction. If you wish to leave £100 to your grandchildren, we can also take any future grandchildren that may not have been born yet into account - future proofing your Will.