When to review your Will
We recommend that all clients review their Will every 3 to 5 years, but sooner if their personal or financial circumstances change.
A legacy of a specific item will not take effect if you no longer own that item when you die, unless you have included specific provision for this in your Will. You may therefore want to review your Will.
If your Will includes a legacy of a particular property and you later mortgage that property then you must review your Will.
If your Will includes a cash legacy, you should keep this under review, particularly if there has been significant inflation since you signed your Will, or if the value of your estate increases or decreases substantially.
Jointly Owned Assets
If you own an asset jointly with someone else (e.g. bank account, furniture) when you die usually this will pass to the surviving owner regardless of the terms of your Will. If you want to ensure this or if you do not want this to happen then please contact us.
If you own a share of a property, again the surviving owner(s) may automatically inherit your share when you die regardless of the terms of your Will. Alternatively, it may be that the surviving owner(s) refuses to sell the property to pay your share to your estate. Please contact us for advice on your options so that your wishes take effect.
If you emigrate you must review your UK Will.
If you acquire an asset abroad (e.g. a holiday home or an overseas investment) then you must review your Will.
If you own a business (whether in partnership, through a limited company or as a sole trader) it is important that you know what will happen when you die: how will the business continue; what rights do your executors have; and will the value of your share avoid inheritance tax.
Please contact us for advice regarding the protection of your business, ensuring maximum value to your estate, and inheritance tax.
Life Policies, Pension Death Benefits and Death-in-service payments
The benefits payable under any of the above will not necessarily be paid to those named in your Will. Furthermore, you can reduce the inheritance tax payable on your death by nominating or assigning these benefits outside of your Will.
Please contact us for further advice.
If you acquire an interest in a trust, please contact us to check how your Will affects this and whether you should review your Will.
Death of Beneficiary, Executor, Trustee or Guardian
If someone named in your Will dies, you may need to update your Will.
If you marry or enter into a registered civil partnership, your Will will become invalid automatically. You can make a Will beforehand which is not revoked automatically in this way so please contact us.
When you die, your estate may be liable to inheritance tax. It is important that you review to what extent this will apply to your estate when you die, as it will affect who inherits and what they inherit.
It is possible to take steps during your lifetime to reduce the amount of inheritance tax which would be payable on your death.
Every individual has an inheritance tax allowance. Widows, widowers and surviving registered civil partners are entitled to an additional allowance and it is important that you collect the documents and information which your executors will need to claim this allowance.
Please contact us for further advice on inheritance tax.
In the future, you may require care whether in your own home or in a residential or nursing home.
If you have to pay for this care yourself, this will affect who inherits and what they inherit when you die.
If you would like advice on funding options, how to protect your estate from potential liability for care fees, or the implications for your Will generally, please contact us.
Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
Generally, you have absolute freedom to decide who inherits what when you die. However, this Act allows certain people to claim financial provision from your estate.
Those who may be able to bring a claim include a spouse/registered civil partner, an ex-spouse/registered civil partner, a cohabitee, a child and any financial dependant.
If you would like further advice on this, please contact us.
Lasting Power of Attorney
We recommend everyone considers making a Power of Attorney appointing one or more people to sign for them should they become physically or mentally incapable of this themselves. This helps prevent a person’s financial affairs from falling under the control of the Court of Protection, which can be expensive, time consuming, inflexible and frustrating.
If you would like to make a Lasting Power of Attorney please let us know.
Independent Financial Advice
Making (and reviewing) your Will is one significant aspect of estate planning. Another is our strong belief that everybody seek professional financial planning advice.
We do not provide financial advice. However we would be more than happy to pass your details on to someone who can help you.