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It’s Never too Early to Write A Will
But Sometimes It’s too Late.
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without the legal jargon
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Whatever your circumstances you probably have
family or people you care about.
Without proper planning, what you leave behind
may not go to the person or people you thought.
Don’t Risk it – Make a Will
You spend your life building up belongings, buying your home, and maybe putting money aside for future plans, all this is in preparation for the day you retire. While you are doing all this you are also planning or expecting to pass this on to your children when you have gone. You may even have built up a collection, of records, old books, jewellery, all with the expectation of passing them on.
If you have a young family, what would happen to your children if both you and your spouse or partner were to die, that’s a really bad thought, but life is what is, and it could happen. So, who would look after them, your brother, sister, parents? The answer is: The local Authority would step in and ultimately the courts could decide. Put this shocking thought out of your mind, write a Will, and appoint Guardians for the children.
It’s quite normal you would want to leave your possessions to people you love and care for. So, if you wish to keep your possessions safe, it is very important to make sure that you can protect as much as possible while you are still able to do so. Your future planning could be upset by all sorts of horrible feelings which can surface bringing different thoughts into play.
If a partner or spouse were to die. The person left may think, do I want to stay in the house, should I move? Do I go to a new town? How will my life change? What am I going to do each day, can I cope? Will I be able to manage? Losing someone is enormous, someone you may have spent your whole life with, who suddenly isn’t around to assist, so who’s going to help? That’s when you need family or friends who understand, people you rely on, you need them around you simply to help you decide what your best options are.
This is a time when you’re at your most vulnerable. Essentially, that’s why making sure that you, or you and your spouse or partner have written a Will with definite instructions, just as you want it. This acts as clear guidelines for the executors and people you trust letting them know what to do, by composing a will and making sure you evaluate it when your life changes, you are securing the people you care about most, and protecting them from unneeded future psychological tension and financial concerns.
Most people put off the thoughts of writing a Will, don’t be one of them.
If Someone Dies without Making a Will, How Does That work?
The rules apply to England and Wales, so if someone dies not having a Will the courts decide who gets what. The person they thought would get a share may not get any at all. If the person who dies has no family then whatever they left will go to the Crown. Lifelong friends for example or people who may have cared for that person in their later years get nothing.
If both parents die and there are children under 18 then the Local Authority and the courts will decide who looks after them, they will decide on their current financial situation and their education. You may be under the impression that your family would automatically step in, but you would be wrong, and that’s a horrible thought for any parent.
OK, Let’s talk About What A Will Actually is.
It’s a legal document that sets out what will happen to your possessions, including your house or share in a house if you owned it with your spouse or partner, your bank account, your car, in fact, anything that you personally owned. You can decide who gets what.
If you have a spouse or partner then this conversation is done together. If one person goes first then the surviving partner usually gets whatever you owned, they would be the priority beneficiary. However, if you or your partner have been married before and have children from a former marriage then naturally you may want to include them in your Will. Without a Will, they may get nothing.
It’s very important at this stage to think about your Life insurance, death in service cover, and pensions, do you know who actually gets the money if you die? By talking to a local Will Writer or Estate Planning Consultant these areas can be identified so that you can state exactly who gets what, and be confident that your intended strategy will be as you planned.
Let’s Have a Quick Look at Inheritance Tax, Commonly Known as the Death Tax (Horrible name!)
You may not have thought much about Inheritance Tax or IHT as it’s referred to, but the level at which it’s paid has been unchanged since 2009, which means that more people will pay Inheritance Tax now than in 2009 simply because house prices have increased. Just think how much your house was worth in 2009 and how much it’s worth now. The level at which it starts is per person and it’s £325,000 at the time of writing. IHT does not just cover your house, but all of the money and possessions that you own and intend to pass on. IF you have a spouse or partner with a joint property then it’s £650,000 (£325,000 each). If you were to die and leave your estate (that’s your possessions) to your partner and the partner dies it all goes to your children. If the total estate is more than £650,000 then Inheritance Tax is due at an eye-watering 40%
If for example A single person dies but didn’t leave much cash but the house was worth more than £325,000 it will pass to the children along with a tax bill to be paid at 40% within 6 months of the date of death. The house may then have to be sold to pay the tax, if it can’t be sold within that time frame, how are the children going to pay the tax bill?. I’m sure that’s not what you really wanted?
What About Care Costs?
We’ve all heard the stories about houses being sold when someone goes into care. The reality is, it can happen. As horrible as it sounds it could be a family’s worst nightmare. Elderly parents who have worked all their lives bringing up children and maybe seeing wonderful grandchildren all with the expectations of leaving the house for their children or grandchildren to benefit from.
All the hopes can be dashed if one or both has to go into care. The question is: Who pays for it? Well, the answer is, it’s the Local Authorities’ responsibility, and with Councils being underfunded, they will look at the assets of the person needing care. If there are no liquid assets (savings), then the house is going to come under scrutiny. If two people own the house and one goes into care, they won’t force the sale of the house but they will put a charge on it equal to the care costs paid by the council.
If you consider care costs can be upwards of £1,000 per week it doesn’t need much calculating to see how long that’s going to take before the value of the house is eroded. When the remaining person passes away the house is sold and the Local Authority take their money, which could be the whole amount, leaving nothing for the family.
This can be avoided with careful planning and making a Will with a suitable Trust, the house can be left intact and for the benefit of the family.
The Advantages of Making a Will
You Can Decide:
- Who can oversee your Will when you have gone, to make sure everything is conducted correctly.
- You can have the people you trust to make sure your wishes are carried out and the estate goes to the people you intend it to.
- If you have young children you can appoint Guardians to look after them.
- You could leave your grandchildren a specific gift or leave them some money.
- You might have a lifelong friend that you want to leave them something
- You can lessen the burden of Inheritance Tax
- Protect your house from Long Term Care Costs.
- When you die and leave your estate to your children, if one gets divorced, the outgoing partner can walk away with half the money. Think about that one!
Problems can be avoided, making a Will can ensure that.
Is Making a Will Complicated?
The short answer is, absolutely not. By making a Will along with a suitable Trust, potential problems can be avoided or reduced. The easy way is to contact your Local Will Writing Service for a free and friendly no-obligation chat. It might be one of the best things you’ve done.