About 70% of the population do not have a Will. That is a fairly astonishing figure when you think about it. Sadly, quite a few people who do have a Will have not updated it recently, so it no longer reflects what they wish to happen after their death and also does not reflect the reality of their lives any longer (someone has divorced or a beneficiary is no longer living etc).
There are also some individuals who have a Will that has been badly drafted or there is a lack of clarity in the intentions expressed in the Will itself. These are often challenged by other family members and after you have died there is nothing you can do about resolving the situation.
Getting quality advice is vital. After an initial consultation with one of rhw’s team you should be left thinking “Oh, I hadn’t considered that eventuality. That has really made me think about what I want to happen after my death”. We will make sure you get the Will you want, so you can experience the peace of mind that those who have sorted this matter out already get to enjoy.
To get the ball rolling, here are a few areas you should think about. When you are ready, contact rhw on 01483 302000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can arrange a consultation. Even with the current coronavirus situation it can all be dealt with remotely.
- Appointment of Executors
These are the persons who will, after your death, deal with the administration of your estate. This will involve making an inventory of your assets and liabilities, obtaining valuations, settling any Inheritance Tax payable, applying for and obtaining a Grant of Probate, collecting the assets, paying the debts and legacies and distributing the balance to the residuary beneficiaries.
- Appointment of Trustees
If any part of your estate cannot be distributed immediately because, for instance, a beneficiary is under the age of 18 years, then it will be necessary to appoint Trustees to hold the appropriate part of your estate in trust. They may be the same individuals you name as executors or may be different.
- Appointment of Guardians
If you have children under the age of 18 years, you should consider whether you wish to appoint guardians. These are the persons with whom your children would live as part of the family. Again they may be the same people as the Executors and Trustees or may be different.
- Funeral Wishes
You will need to consider whether you wish to be cremated or buried and whether you wish to donate your body or any parts of your body for transplantation purposes or medical research. If no such wishes are expressed, an Executor will normally arrange for cremation. If you do have particular wishes you should set them out in your Will and also advise your next of kin.
You should consider whether you wish to make gifts of sums of money or specific items of property such as jewellery to individuals or charities.
- Age of Inheritance
In the absence of any provisions to the contrary, an infant beneficiary becomes entitled to his or her inheritance on attaining the age of 18 years. Many parents feel that age is too young and prefer to insert a higher age such as 21 or 25.
There are several different sorts of trust you may wish to explore which carry different tax implications. The options for parents differ from others such as grandparents. rhw can explain the various choices you have in this area.
If you decide a child should inherit at an age higher than 18 years, then the usual position, until he or she attains that age, is as follows. Whilst the child is under the age 18 years the Trustees have power to advance income for the child’s maintenance, education and benefit.
If an age higher than 18 years is chosen, then we usually suggest giving the Trustees a wide discretion to enable them to advance capital if they think fit, for example to contribute towards the cost of purchasing a flat or house.
Individual circumstances differ. That is why it is important to get quality and in depth legal advice.
- Longstop provisions
You should consider how you wish your estate to be distributed if the people you wish to benefit die before you or before attaining the age at which they are to become entitled.
If you would like any more information about this, please contact Edward, Heather or Helen in our Wills and Lifetime Planning team.