Since my introductory post, I have been back and forth in my own wee brain about what I feel should be my first topic related post. As those cogs began turning, my week somewhat guided me to what I felt was an area in my field which is now gathering pace and is, thankfully, coming to the forefront of peoples’ minds.
WHY IS A WILL IMPORTANT?
So, there is a bit of an elephant in the room when I tend to raise the topic of Wills with people as a whole.
When we talk about Wills, we are very much addressing a topic that none of us want to think about and that is our own mortality.
So, let’s flip the thinking…
We work most of our lives ensuring that those we care about are looked after in some way or another; often from either a financial or emotional standpoint. We also spend most of our lives giving more than we care to give to our mutual acquaintance known as HMRC.
Having been in the Wills and Probate sector for a number of years, I feel that a well drafted Will factors in both these aspects; that is, we want to ensure those who we care about are considered whilst doing what is possible to ensure we mitigate as much tax as we can.
In the absence of a Will, an individual can run a real risk of missing out on some very healthy tax allowances. Not only that, dealing with an estate can take longer to conclude and can leave the estate in limbo, which is often very difficult for family members.
Some considerations when thinking about a Will
Thinking about a Will can be a very daunting task and I often find that having a brief chat before I meet with clients often helps them come to the meeting with a better sense of what they want. And so, I say have a think about the following areas:
- Who are to be your Executors and Trustees – these can be, generally, anyone over the age of 18 years with the requisite mental capacity. Consider who you feel will best deal with your estate. Sometimes, it is worth contemplating those who can separate themselves from what is a very emotional time and can take a more practical approach when dealing with the estate.
- Who are to be guardians – this is applicable where there are children under 18 years of age. In essence, guardians are those who will look after the children in the event that the parents have passed away before the children have reached adulthood. Some consideration may be given to where those guardians live but also how involved and present those people have been in the children’s lifetime.
- Where will your estate pass – in a situation of a married couple/those in a civil partnership, it is usually to the survivor or children if there is no partner to benefit. You may also want to think about giving cash sums to other beneficiaries or particular possessions (such as jewellery) before the estate is dealt with as a whole. For those who are not married and/or do not have children, the direction of the estate can be very personal and it is important to work through accordingly.
- Different generations living under one roof – often there can be different generations living within the same household; be it grandparents, parents, children etc. Therefore, it is important to ensure those generations are considered when looking at the Will.
Changing of the landscape
I have been encouraged to see that more and more people are considering their estates and entering into Wills, and that it is now very much the case younger generations are taking this into account. I believe certain driving factors are at play here; namely, an increased awareness through platforms like this and an increased exposure of what can occur when there is no Will in an estate.
Please be careful with these and seek the appropriate advice.
I have seen too many Wills created from shop bought purchases and templates downloaded online which have caused estates far too many problems – often resulting in void Wills or poorly expressed wishes.
It is important to seek appropriate advice and ensure that your instructions are properly recorded by attendance notes, email trails, letters of instructions, telephone notes etc. An experienced practitioner will ensure your instructions are recorded appropriately.
If you wish to discuss your Will, or indeed any areas of Wills and Probate, then I am more than happy to do so. All initial meetings for new instructions are non-chargeable.