Are you Unmarried or Divorced?
Perhaps you have been living for some years with your partner but have never married, or maybe you are currently divorced. You may have children. If you die without a Will, nothing will automatically pass to your partner. They will only be able to claim a share of your estate if you were living together throughout the two years immediately prior to your death.
If they cannot fulfill this condition, they may still be able to claim support from your estate if they can show they were partly or wholly supported by you before you died but their claim will have to be considered by the courts – often a lengthy and costly procedure.
If you have children it is essential to arrange a Will. Firstly, it is the only way to nominate Guardians for your children should you die before they reach the age of 18 – otherwise the Courts would have the final say. If you are an unmarried father you will not automatically become the Guardian of your natural children on the death of their mother, so you will either need to be named as their Guardian in their mother’s Will or apply for Parental Responsibility at a local County Court.
Finally a Will protects your children’s inheritance until they reach majority i.e. 18 years of age. It is never too early to make a Will. If arranged now ‘ in anticipation of marriage’ we ensure it automatically covers you before and after the date of marriage. As your family evolves, we will update your Will for you, often at no additional cost apart from P & P costs. Once you have a Will with us, you literally have a “Will for Life”.
Are you married?
If you are currently married or getting married very soon, don’t assume that everything will automatically pass to your new spouse at death. If you haven’t made a Will, the Law may decide how your possessions will be distributed, sometimes at the expense of your intended beneficiaries.
If you have children, the surviving spouse would only get the first £250,000 outright and 50% of the remainder, with the children possibly getting the rest at age 18. If you don’t have children, the surviving spouse would get more but not necessarily everything, depending upon the size of your estate and your surviving relatives.
Safeguarding your Home
Preserving the value of the family home from hostile creditors is important. If you should need Long Term Residential or Nursing Care and your assets exceed £23,500, the NHS and Community Care Act 1990 allows for the value of your home to be used by the local authority to meet the costs associated with providing that care.
By changing the way in which you own your home, the possibility of a future creditor being able to make a successful claim against this valuable asset can be greatly reduced.
Options can range from a simple change to holding your property as Tenants in Common, to transferring your property (or properties) into a full Property Trust, which can also reduce the cost and administration of Probate later. Contact us for details regarding Property Trusts, especially if you are in business and wish to separate your business and personal assets.
Similar measures can also protect equities and other assets so that your children and other beneficiaries can inherit as planned. It is important to note that, whilst pre-emptive planning is acceptable, such measures cannot be established where the motive is clearly to frustrate the attempts of legitimate creditors. We have close ties with leading conveyancing firms, solicitors and Barristers if required, so can easily arrange the purchase or sale of your property at competitive rates and place your property into trust if required.
How can we help
Effective Will & Estate planning often makes all the difference between achieving security or suffering financial hardship, yet such advice can often be seen as complex and difficult to follow. Working with existing advisers as appropriate, we will provide you with clear, common sense guidance that will help you understand your options.
Our fees are clear and agreed at the outset and if you are in business or self employed, can be treated as a deductible business expense.
- Arranging Your Affairs, Estate & Asset Preservation Planning
- Wills, Making Legacies & arranging a Will Trust
- Pilot, Spousal Bypass and Lifetime Trusts
- Inheritance Tax planning
- Letters of Exclusion
- Memorandum of Wishes (Letter of Wishes)
- Advance Directives (Living Wills)
- Lasting Powers of Attorney (Two types)
- General Powers of Attorney
- Registration of Powers of Attorney
- Parental Responsibility Agreements
- Document Storage & Will Register
- Pre-paid Funeral Plans
- Specialist Tax Advice
- Business Succession Planning
- Estate Administration & Probate Services
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