Why Your Will May Not Achieve What You Want

Making a Will is the only way for you to have control of your assets after you die – it spells out your wishes clearly and avoids costly, time-consuming disagreements as well as giving you peace of mind. So when you’ve made a Will, it’s easy to think that your wishes will be carried out, but circumstances change, and when they do, it’s unlikely that your Will is flexible enough to deal with it, and it may be too late to change things. As a result, your wishes may never be realised.

What will your non-Will look like?

“It never occurred to me that my Will could be so easily over-ridden by changes in my family’s circumstances. But having been to the Barnet Wills seminar last year, I feel so much better informed, and the changes I made have given me real peace of mind.” Chris HalimConsider these common scenarios:

  • Your spouse re-marries after you die, and his/her new partner has children of their own.
  • Your spouse re-marries after you die, and he/she dies before their new partner.
  • After you die, your child divorces their partner.
  • After you die, your loved ones are saddled with a huge Inheritance Tax bill.

In each of these cases, a significant proportion of your estate might be lost from your family line forever.

Some simple steps you can take NOW to avoid this situation

If you’d like to find out more, visit the Making a Will section of this website, contact Eli Pressman at Barnet Wills on 020 3189 1737

Although not a legal requirement, making a Will is the only way to protect your family and assets in the long term. Without a Will, the value of your family’s inheritance may be reduced significantly. This could lead to untold problems, including additional costs, at a time when additional stress and difficulty is the last thing your loved one would need.

A case study

What happens if I die without a Will?

Dying without a Will (intestate) will have various consequences:

  • Your spouse or partner may not automatically inherit your property and possessions;
  • Guardianship of any children under 18 may be unclear, leaving the courts to decide their welfare;
  • The task of carrying out your wishes may fall upon a person who is unsuitable for such responsibilities, or they may turn to a solicitor who will deduct a fee from the estate;
  • Your home may not ultimately pass to your chosen beneficiaries;
  • Your family could be liable for a large tax bill;
  • A special gift you have chosen for a child, grandchild, friend or charity might not get to them;
  • The people who are precious to you could suffer unnecessary stress, heartache and difficulties.

What happens if I have made a Will?

If you already have a Will, there’s a good chance that it may not cover many of the eventualities listed above, so it’s always worth checking. We offer a free Will checking service that will highlight any significant areas of concern, allowing you to take remedial action before it’s too late.

To arrange for your free check, call Eli Pressman at Barnet Wills on 020 3189 1737 or email info@barnetwills.co.uk

Whoever looks at your Will, it’s important to assess whether the Will is achieving what you want.

Have you left everything to your spouse/partner and then all to your children? If this is the case, your assets may fund your spouse/partner’s next marriage and then be at risk from divorce. Worse still, your children may not inherit anything from your estate. Listen to Stuart tell his story.

And even if your children inherit in line with your wishes, their own children (your grandchildren) could lose out if their inheritance is lost to their ex-partners in a divorce, lost to their children’s creditor claims, or could be drastically reduced because of Inheritance Tax.

To protect your assets and save your loved ones from unnecessary stress and costs, call Eli Pressman at Barnet Wills on 020 3189 1737.

Do I need to worry about taxes on my death?

Your beneficiaries will be liable to pay 40% on everything over £325,000.  The introduction of the Residence Nil Rate Band has also cause a lot of confsuion. You should talk to a professional experienced in tax and estate planning who can give you good advice in minimising exposure to this tax on your death, whether through your Will or by taking appropriate steps during your lifetime. It is often possible to save thousands of pounds through simple measures. And don’t forget that Inheritance Tax is generational.

To protect your assets and save your loved ones from unnecessary stress and costs, call Eli Pressman at Barnet Wills on 020 3189 1737.

I can write my own Will?

In England and Wales it is perfectly possible to write your own Will, and this may seem like a great way to save you time and money. However, problems frequently arise from mistakes that cost families a great deal of money and heartache.

Court hearings and lawyers are often required to remedy issues resulting from incorrect terminology and wording, so the best way to avoid hefty legal bills is to use a professional Will writer to take your instructions and translate them into legally-effective provisions. And at Barnet Wills, the cost of your Will includes advice we give.

How often should my existing Will be reviewed?

We think it’s important to review your Will whenever there have been changes in family circumstances, such as births, deaths, disabilities, marriages, separation or divorce, or if there has been significant changes in your financial situation, whether an increase or a decrease.

Even without changes to your circumstances, there may have been changes in income tax or other laws, so regular reviews are always a good idea.

Even with a Will there are a number of ways in which your home, savings and business are vulnerable to attack so having the right Will is very important. To illustrate this, you can watch a short video by clicking here

I am divorced, but how do I ensure that my ex-spouse does not receive anything under my Will?

Once divorced, your Will remains valid and is not revoked. However, for the sole purpose of the Will, your former spouse is treated as deceased and therefore any gifts made to them or appointment of them as Executor or Trustee, become ineffective. It is easy to forget the need to update your Will, particularly when you lead a busy life juggling work and family. Unless you make a new Will, your executor will be obliged to notify your ex-spouse that an application for probate has been submitted to the court, and your former spouse may participate in the proceedings if he or she wishes. They may argue that your Will indicates an intention that they should receive bequests under the Will notwithstanding the divorce.

My wife and I have separated – do I need to change my Will?

Separation does not affect your Will. Even if you have a Separation Agreement, which provides that your spouse will have no claim against you under your Will, making a Will is a matter that should be attended to immediately upon separation. However, your spouse may still have a claim against you under the relevant marital property laws.

To find out more about how to protect your assets and save your loved ones from unnecessary distress and costs, call Eli Pressman at Barnet Wills on 020 3189 1737 or email info@barnetwills.co.uk

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