Should I have a will?

//Should I have a will?

Should I have a will?

Possibly one of the most important documents you will need in your lifetime.

What Is a Will?

A will is a legal document that sets out your wishes for the distribution of your assets and the care of any minor children on your death.

What Is a Living Will?

living will has nothing to do with the distribution of assets, but sets out your wishes for medical care in terms of life support should you be incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself.

Why Do I Need a Will?

Creating a will gives you sole discretion over the distribution of your assets. It lets you decide how your belongings, such as cars or family heirlooms, should be distributed. If you have a business or investments, your will can direct the smooth transition of those assets.

If you have minor children, a will lets you provide for their care. If you have children from a prior marriage, even if they are adults, your will can dictate the assets they receive. Creating a will also minimises tensions among survivors. Relatives battling over your possessions can weaken what may have otherwise been a strong family.

What Does A Will cover?

While wills generally address the bulk of your assets, there are a variety of items that are not covered by the instructions in a will. These items include community property, proceeds from life-insurance policy payouts, retirement assets, assets owned as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, and investment accounts that are designated as “transfer on death.”

What Happens If I Don’t Have A Will?

If you do not have a will, you die intestate. In such a case, the state will oversee the distribution of your assets. Contrary to popular opinion, the state does not inherit your assets, but rather distributes them according to a set formula.

Such a scenario can result in the sale of the family home or other assets, negatively affecting the surviving spouse. This can create financial and emotional difficulties, particularly if your spouse was counting on the bulk of your assets to maintain his or her standard of living. Further complications can arise if your children are minors, as the court will appoint a representative to look after their interests.

Tax considerations are another important issue to consider, as a properly prepared a will can minimise tax liability. This is particularly important to people with large estates.

How Do I Get a Will?

You can get a will drafted by a specialist will writer or a solicitor.  The Institute of professional will writers has a list of all members qualified to draft a will https://www.ipw.org.uk.

When you are ready to prepare a will, compile a list of your assets and debts. Be sure to include the contents of safe deposit boxes, items of sentimental value, family heirlooms and other assets that you wish to transfer to a particular person or entity.

How Can I Change My Will?

Changing your will is easy.  Simply write a new will to replace the old one, or make an addition using an amendment known as a codicil.  Ideally, you want to make any changes when you are of sound mind and in good health.  This limits the likelihood that your wishes can be successfully challenged and avoids decisions made in haste or under intense emotional pressure.

What Do I Do with It Once It’s Done?

Creating your will is only the first step.  It is important that your executor or professional adviser is aware of your will and has a copy.  Your wishes can only be carried out if they are known.  Ensuring your will is in capable hands will mean it is available when it is needed.  Take care in appointing your executor.

How Much Does A Will Cost?

This will be dependant on the complexity of your circumstance but typically starts from around £250.  Additional annual charges usually apply if you wish to have your will stored securely by a professional firm.

The Bottom Line

Making a will is a necessary and often a fairly simple process – the proper drafting of a Will can save your family time, money and disagreement, at what will be a difficult time for them.  It will also give you peace of mind that your affairs are dealt with as you wish.

It always surprises me how many clients not only do not have a will in place but seem not to understand the importance in relation to protection of assets and ensuring your estate is distributed in line with your wishes.

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Anthony Davies, Founder and Director

PRIMOtax Limited

t: 01293 301989

e: [email protected]

www.primotax.co.uk

2019-04-09T14:38:24+00:00 April 9th, 2019|Knowledge Base|