A willing plan for your loved ones

Posted on: 22-07-2016

Having a valid Will in place isn’t tempting fate – it’s simply being sensible. It’s an opportunity to make sure all of your affairs are organised, your loved ones get to retain as much of your wealth as possible, and that your wishes are carried out.

The fact it can be such a difficult issue to contemplate largely explains why many of us don’t have a Will. According to figures from Will Aid Research, in 2015 more than half of the UK population (53%) don’t have a Will.

Without a Will you will be classed as having died ‘Intestate’, which means the law – rather than you – would dictate who inherits your estate. This means that your spouse may only inherit the first £250,000, plus your personal possessions and half of the balance of the estate, and the remaining 50% of your estate may pass to your children. An unmarried or unregistered civil partner has no automatic right to your estate at all.

A Will is your opportunity to truly set out which items and possessions you would like people to inherit – removing all doubt. It reduces the risk of family members falling out. It can also assist with inheritance tax planning.

Other benefits include the ability to specify who will become the guardians of your children, the option to specify that certain mementos (such as a piece of jewellery) go to a treasured person, and the opportunity to leave money to a certain charity.

Keeping your Will relevant

Even if you have taken time out to arrange a Will, you need to keep considering if the instructions account for any changes to your circumstances. If, for example, you have been blessed with the arrival of grandchildren since you set up your Will, you may want to review it to ensure they are included too.

Other reasons to re-assess your Will include a divorce or remarriage. Other life changes – such as the acquisition of new assets that might impact on your inheritance tax liability – could also have an effect.

Will Aid found that more than 30% of people who have a Will have not reviewed it for at least three years – one in five have never revisited theirs. This is despite the fact more than one in four of people with a Will have experienced a change in circumstances which might mean their most recent Will is either invalid or no longer reflects their wishes.

How do I apply for a Will?

The first consideration is to determine the type of Will you need and the level of detail required. You can, for instance, pick up a do-it-yourself Will from a shop. It would just need to be certified for
a small fee.

This type of scenario might be suitable if your instructions are simple. However, most people will find they require a greater level of support that comes from speaking to an expert, such as a financial adviser, solicitor, will writer or bank/building society – the costs of such services can vary.

There are so many advantages to seeking a greater level of service for organising a Will. It allows you to truly detail your circumstances, and what sort of provisions you might want to leave behind for your children or grandchildren. If you have a partner, a Mirror Will allows you to leave all your assets to each other, but also enables timely and efficient administration of the estate for specified beneficiaries.

Another benefit is that a professional could store your Will safely on your behalf. Will Aid found that 58% of us do not know where to find the Will of our nearest relatives.

[Source] http://www.willaid.org.uk/press/research
Taxation and trust advice, deposit, national savings products and will writing are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

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