If you die without a Will you are deemed to have died ‘intestate’. The law sets out that property belonging to an intestate person is inherited according to a strict set of rules known as the ‘intestacy rules’. These rules dictate who will benefit from your estate. Potentially your estate could pass to a family member who you are estranged from or worse if your family cannot be located, it could pass to the Government.
If you die without a Will your closest living relative won’t necessarily inherit your entire estate. Leaving it to chance is simply not an option.
By making a Will you can appoint who you want to be in charge of administering your estate. This person is known as your Executor and can be a family member, friend or someone completely independent like a professional. Your Executor will be responsible for collecting your assets, settling debts, finalising tax affairs and distributing your assets in accordance with your wishes. Your Executor will also be responsible for arranging your funeral and your Will can detail any specific funeral wishes that you may have.
For those of you who have infant children you should make a Will appointing guardians for them and make clear what your wishes are relating to the health and welfare of your children for example, who will look after them and any views you have relating to religion and education etc. You may also want to make provision for pets.
We live in a time where family dynamics and assets can be complex – people are involved in second marriages and may have children from different relationships. We all need to consider providing proper financial support to those loved ones that are financially dependent upon us to avoid unnecessary conflict between family members and financial claims being made against our estate after our death.
Carefully drafted wills can also ensure that your loved ones get the benefit of your wealth without it effecting any state benefits they receive, or your wealth being wiped out in payment of your loved ones care fees in the event they require care in the future.
We recommend a specialist team who deal with Inheritance Tax Planning.
Generally, inheritance tax is relevant in net estates that exceed £325,000. Find out more about Inheritance Tax Planning
Disputes can arise for a variety of reasons from, who should have the power to administer the estate to, challenging and defending the validity of a will. Find out more about contentious Probate
Asset Protection Trust Deed
A bespoke Trust Deed is a legally binding document setting out the terms upon which the property is owned. Find out more about Asset Protection Trust Deed
Lasting Power of Attorney
We have all know or have heard of people who suffer with mental capacity issues such as Alzheimer’s and the problems this can cause when dealing with their day to day financial affairs. Find out more about Lasting Power of Attorney
Court of Protection
The Court of Protection (also known as The Office of the Public Guardian) makes decisions in relation to the property and affairs and health care and personal welfare of adults (and children in a few cases) who lack the mental capacity to make those decisions for themselves. Find out more about Court of Protection