With the New Year we all express our good intentions to live better and get things done. Typically we resolve to quit smoking, lose weight, join a gym or simply de-clutter the house. Well, what about getting round to making or updating your will?
Making a will is something so many people put off doing but those that do have peace of mind that decisions have been made, things are taken care of and their affairs are in order. It may not be the most appealing activity to say the least but it is probably one of the most important things any of us should do.
There are so many false assumptions people make when it comes to making a will and what will happen to their assets on death. Here are ten of the most common misconceptions and misleading information that we come across:
1. My spouse will inherit everything if I don’t make a will.
2. My personal possessions and household goods are not part of my estate for Inheritance tax.
3. My live-in lover has no claim on my estate if I die.
4. My pension death benefits are dealt with by my will.
5. My pension death benefits are not dealt with by my will!
6. Because we are divorced, my ex-spouse has no claim on my estate when I die.
7. Any foreign assets which I own are not subject to UK Inheritance tax.
8. I can make any number of Inheritance tax free gifts as long as each gift is not more than £3,000.00.
9. Anyone can witness my will.
10. A person who benefits from my will cannot be an executor.
If you have ever presumed any of the above statements were correct then you really do need to seek reliable and qualified help. Are you possibly labouring under any other misconceptions?
Making a valid will that leaves your estate as you wish and is also tax efficient may be more technical and complex than you think and there are countless cases of where poorly drafted wills have been invalidated.
A solicitor, who is a qualified Trust and Estate Practitioner, will have the knowledge and experience to provide the service right for your individual circumstances. A STEP qualified practitioner will not over complicate matters and will explain all the relevant issues to you in straightforward terms and make their charges clear at the start.
So, resolve to get your will sorted and make it one resolution that you keep. Contact us for assistance, so even if you never actually go to the gym after purchasing that membership, you can at least start the New Year with one positive and worthwhile tick on your resolutions list!
For further information, please contact a member of our Wills & Wealth Planning team on 01625 442100.