David Robinson, Director of Templar Estate Planning discusses the importance of everyone having an up to date and valid Will. If you do not have a Will or changes have happened in your life, please read on!
Thinking about your Will and how you want your property and assets shared out after you die is something that no one really wants to do… but you know you should. I speak with people every week about this, and one thing is clear – there is always a great sense of relief once your Will and other Estate Planning has been completed.
It has been estimated that two thirds of people in the UK do not have a Will or any other form of estate planning in place, with the average person thinking:
• I’ll sort it later, there is plenty of time.
• What is the need? Everything I have will go to my spouse
• No need, my family will be able to agree on how to divide it all up
• Or.. I’m just not sure how to go about getting it all sorted.
Are you like this?
If you are, I would greatly encourage you to get your affairs in order now. Don’t let your family or loved ones down by dying without a Will. Here at Templar Estate Planning we specialise in providing a bespoke service whilst making the process as easy possible for our clients.
What happens If you don’t have a Will place?
In short it will mean that your loved ones, the people you want to benefit, may have a very big job to sort your affairs at a very difficult time in their life.
Without a Will you will be declared as “Intestate” – this means that your estate will be shared out to your family under certain rules – that may not be in the manner that you would like. This is particularly relevant if you are not married because under intestacy rules, your partner may not get anything.
If you are declared intestate there is a real potential that the courts will need to get involved in order to process the distribution of your estate; this can be costly, take a lot of time and even possibly cause issues within the family at a vulnerable time for them. All of which can be avoided with a Will.
Without a Will, parents of younger children are often surprised to find that should the worst happen, Guardianship of children can be contentious and decided by the Courts – someone who you may not want, could be asked to look after you children. With a Will, you can clearly state who should be the Guardians.
It probably seems obvious to say this, but with a Will you can clearly state who you want to leave your assets to. This is not just any money you might have, but also your personal and loved possessions. Importantly it also means that you can say who should not benefit.
You might have a particular cause or charity that you support and want to leave a legacy towards after you have gone. With a Will you can clearly state who this is, how much they should receive and the reasons behind your gift.
With a Will you can also lower the risk of potential family disputes. We have all heard stories where families have sadly fallen out with each other over a relative’s estate. A clearly written Will with commentary can remove any contention and leave your beneficiaries understanding and respecting your bequests.
Types of Will
We often get asked about simple Wills compared to a more sophisticated ones using Trusts. My view on a simple Will is that, although they are better than nothing, depending on your personal circumstances they can leave you exposed to avoidable threats and lose your family money. When you are planning to get your first Will or checking to see if yours still meets your requirements, think about:
• If you have a larger estate – these days that could mean even just owning your house – you could be exposed to unnecessary Inheritance Tax.
• Care home fees could result in your family home being lost to future generations.
• You may want to ensure that your children’s inheritance is protected if you spouse or partner get married again after you have gone.
• Whether your beneficiaries, for whatever reason, may not be able to manage their inheritance without help. This could be because they are in debt or threatened by creditors, or even not have the mental capacity to cope, through to you not 100% trusting their partners.
These and other threats to your estate can be mitigated by an experienced Will writer and estate planner, utilising more sophisticated Wills with Trusts.
With this type of robust planning, you will leave your estate in good hands and will minimise the work and upset for your beneficiaries.
I urge you to not delay in this vital planning. There are many options to get a Will these days and who you go to will depend on your own circumstances and what you feel comfortable with. The most important thing is to ensure that you have a valid and robust Will and if needed, further estate planning in place, to match your specific needs.
Here at Templar Estate Planning we are happy to, and without charge, take the time to discuss with you, and to ensure that all your needs are covered and importantly that you understand the whole process before you commit to our services.
Contact us today to book your free and absolutely no obligation consultation, we look forward to meeting you.
Estate planning allows you to put together a clear plan that details exactly your wishes regarding how you would like your estate to be managed and distributed on your death, or managed during your life should you become incapacitated.
What is an estate?
We all have an estate. Granted some may be bigger and more complicated than others, but we all have one. That is why you should be thinking now what should happen to your estate when you die or should you become incapacitated in your lifetime.
Your estate is made up of everything you own: your home and perhaps other property or land you might have, your car, your savings, investments, bank accounts, your business, and your personal possessions right through from jewellery to your golf clubs!
The basic planning you should think about:
Number one on the list is your Will. There are many reasons to have a Will, the main is to avoid being declared intestate and therefore having your estate distributed by intestacy rules that may be in a manner that is not to your wishes. This is particularly important for unmarried couples.
Trusts are effectively a protective wrapper around your estate or parts of it, which provide the extra protection that your requirements might demand. There are many uses for Trusts, including but not limited to; ensuring that a partner can stay in your family home after your death, protecting younger or vulnerable beneficiaries’ inheritance, or ensuring that your loved ones do not pay unnecessary tax after you have died.
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA)
A lasting power of attorney is a legal document that lets you appoint one or more trusted people to make decisions on your behalf in your lifetime should you lose mental capacity to do so. This gives you more control over what happens to you if you have an accident or an illness and cannot make your own decisions.
Transparency and clarity of your wishes. On the whole, Wills and other estate planning is very much about the “what” and the “how”, but not about the “why” of your wishes. We can work to provide clarity on the reasons for your decisions and gifting through our Will Clarity and Statement of Execution documents to leave no room for misinterpretation or possible claims against your Estate.