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Wills

No Will?  This is what will happen to your estate upon your death.  Did you realise that?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why You Should Make a Will

A Will is a legal declaration of your wishes and is only valid if it complies with certain requirements set by Law.  There are countless reasons why you should make a Will and we list below the main ones.  A Will is the only way you can help ensure your wishes are carried out after your death.

If you have not made a Will, your Will fails or is invalid, then the Government Rules of Intestacy will apply to give structure to its distribution.  These rules will be unlikely to reflect your real wishes.

Without a Will, the distribution of your estate will take much longer than it would if one was in place.  This could cause unnecessary distress to those that need early access to money or property.  Disputes can be avoided if a valid Will is made and your loved ones will be more likely to receive what you have left them.

A Will can be used to appoint legal guardians for your children as well as to express your funeral wishes and to specify gifts to individuals or charities.  None of these would be reflected in the Rules of Intestacy.

Here are some of the benefits of making a Will:

  • Help ensure your estate passes to those you intended it to via your chosen executors.

  • Make use of Estate Protection strategies helping to avoid unnecessary Tax, often only available through your Will.

  • Avoid lengthy delays in the distribution of your estate.

  • Ensure guardians are appointed for your dependent children.

  • Showing you care enough to make it simpler for those you leave behind.

  • Reduce the likelihood of unintended beneficiaries claiming part of your estate.

  • Reduce the distress to those you leave behind and make your funeral wishes known.

  • Help ringfence sections of your estate or property from Tax or Local Authorities.

  • Avoid the Government Rules of Intestacy as well as saving time and money.

  • Give you peace of mind knowing that you have done the best you can.

Why do people put off making a Will?

Making a Will is often delayed due to the expectation that it is going to be difficult, expensive and emotive.  It is often said, "I am too young" or "I am too old" with the thoughts that it can seem to be hard to make decisions that can last for many years.

The Truth About Wills

 

HMRC data reveals that IHT receipts for the period April 2021 to February 2022 stood at £5.5bn; £0.7bn higher than the same period in the previous year.
 
Also, almost half (47%) of Brits who have a Will haven’t updated it for more than five years, meaning nearly half of Wills in the UK are likely to be out of date.  Of those, a third (33%) haven’t updated it for over 7 years, and a fifth (21%) haven’t dusted it off in more than a decade.
 
Research has revealed that:
 
  • Almost half (44%) of people realise the law decides who will inherit your assets if you don’t have a Will in place.
  • Only a third of people (33%) realise that a couple living together, without marriage or civil partnership, won’t inherit each other’s assets without a Will in place.
  • Only a third of people (34%) realise their spouse (wife, husband or civil partner) won’t automatically inherit their full estate without a Will in place.
 
Other misunderstandings about Wills include:
 
  • Only 16% of people realise that re-marrying invalidates a Will.
  • Less than a third (31%) of people realise stepchildren won’t be included in a Will unless stipulated separately.
  • 17% of people think a Will can be updated by making changes on the original document and initialling them.
In addition, other concerns are over the drop in Will uptake since the pandemic – the number of Brits over the age of 40 who have a Will in place has dropped from 65% in 2020, to 54% in 2022 – that’s over 10%.
In its latest report, HMRC has also explained that it expected higher IHT receipts from March to August 2021 due to “higher volumes of wealth transfers that took place during the Covid-19 pandemic”.  However, more data will be required before this can be confirmed.
 
Commenting on historic data, HMRC revealed that receipts in April to May 2017, and March to April 2019, were particularly high due to announcements (and subsequent delays and cancellations) of rises to probate fees in England and Wales in February 2017 and November 2018, which is likely to have caused executors to bring forward tax payments to avoid the prospective higher fees.
 
Lower receipts in April and May 2020, HMRC said, were due to a temporary issue where HMRC were unable to accept cheques for payment of IHT due to Covid-19, which was resolved, hence the peak in June 2020 receipts.
 
  • The average amount paid per estate was £209,000.

Reasons to Use our Will-writing Service

 

As I am sure you are aware, you can obtain a Will from a number of sources; you could even write your own.  However, there are good reasons to use a professional service, and our service provides the following:

  • A discussion and advice on the principal aspects of the Will and the meaning of terms.

  • Assistance with the choice of executors (and guardians if relevant).  Many Will-writing firms and solicitors offer a low-cost Will but then try to encourage you to appoint themselves as executors.  They then charge heavily for providing this service when the time comes.

  • We are instruction takers for the Will, meaning we gather the necessary information.  This is passed to a professional Will-writing company who do nothing but write Wills and Powers of Attorney, having written over 25,000 Wills since 1996.

  • They are full members of the Society of Will Writers and have Professional Indemnity (insurance) cover.

  • Secure Will storage can also be included at a cost of £15 per year.  If this service is chosen then any future amendments to the Will can be made free of charge.

 

It is worth reinforcing that if you do not have a Will then the rules of intestacy must be relied upon and your wishes may not be carried out.  Some people argue that effectively everyone has a Will, but if you rely on the rules of intestacy you are using a Will that someone else has written for you.

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