Financial laws regarding inheritance and next of kin and wills can be very difficult for some to understand. You may believe you have a good will in place to protect your family’s interests but this may not always be the case. When constructing your will it is based to get expert advice from experienced solicitors. They can explain how the current legislation will affect your estate, what you leave, who it goes to and issues such as inheritance tax. Wills North Wales can provide resources, advice and guidance to help your understand your will and the law.
Although death is something none of us like to consider making a will is one of the most important things you can do. It does not matter whether you own a great deal or very little getting your affairs in order is vital. Unresolved money or estate issues can create stress and strife among families and this is something that can be solved with a proper will. Many are not aware of the nuances of financial law and how it can affect what happens to their possessions after they pass away. It is not enough to simply express your wishes you need to understand how the laws in place in your country regarding family and possessions left by the deceased affect your will.
Why it is important to make a will
The majority of people accumulate possessions throughout their lifetime. Property and money are the ones that normally become important in regards to a will. If a will is not drawn up beforehand sometimes these possessions are not distributed accordingly. In the case of someone who wishes to leave property or money to their children, sibling or friends rather than their spouse this must be clearly taken care of in their will as a spouse is regarded as the default receiver of property and money upon death of the other partner. Even if you have both verbally agreed to leave it to someone else it is much safer to have a fully drawn up will.
Circumstances and relationships change overtime. It can be distressing to think of splitting up with a partner or falling into ill health but these are realities that do occur and leaving family with financial losses that could have been avoided at a time when they are grieving is perhaps more distressing.
Marriage status has a huge impact on who is entitled to your possessions. For married people a spouse is regarded by law as the next of kin. If there is no will a spouse receives the property and money. This can cause a great deal of conflict for those who do not wish to get married or did not marry before the death of one partner. If you did want to leave possessions or money to a partner you were not legally married to but did not state this in your will they could receive nothing. If you are unmarried and have failed to register a civil partnership then your partner isnot entitled to your belongings unless you have stated so in your will!
Financial loss following the death of a loved one is one of the most known causes of family dispute. Even a close family can fall out over unresolved issues with money if it is negatively affected their circumstances. If it not taken care of in a will certain family could experience huge financial loss. The case of children is particularly relevant. If you have children it is definitely a good idea to have organised a will so that arrangements can be made for the children if the parents pass away. This does not just regard money but if the children are under 18 who will be their main care provider.
Inheritance Tax can be a problem for many families. Inheritance tax can be a big problem even if a correct will is present and the law on inheritance tax may change. This is why it is based to get expert advice from a solicitor on how to handle what you leave to your family. An experienced solicitor will understand the current laws and be able to guide you and your family to the best solution so your descendants are not faced with large amounts of inheritance tax.
What if you die without a will?
It is important to understand how much the law changes regarding inheritance to make sure you have put safeguards in place in your will! In previous years, if you were without children upon your death, then £200,000 of your estate was awarded to your spouse, however this is now the increased figure of £450,000. What’s left of your estate is then divided between both your parents and your spouse, if your parents are dead then instead this will be between your siblings and your spouse. As you can see if your parents are alive your siblings may not benefit from what you leave behind without specification in a will and your parents get considerably less than your spouse regardless of whose financial circumstances are worse. If you do have children then £250,000 of your estate is awarded to your spouse, with the remainder of the estate to be divided between your children. However if the assets are more than £250,000 then the rest of the money is divided according to a stringent formula. These more recent changes do give more protection to the family of a deceased who has no will, however they are still not as accurate as the exact preference of the deceased. The best bet is to write a will, and then you can know and determine the exact destination of your money, belongings and properties. The law does not take into account eth financial circumstances of your family. You may be aware that certain children, siblings or your parents will be in difficult circumstances without you to support them whereas your spouse or partner may have sufficient income. If you are aware of special circumstances in your family that need to be taken care of should you pass away then it is very important that you take out a will and specify your wishes. Getting advice from a solicitor can help you to create safeguards in the case of the law changing or your family’s circumstances changing.
What to include in your will
When writing a will, there are various different things you should include and consider. Things that a solicitor will help you organize and include in the best order will include:
- How much money, property, possessions and assets you have and where they will go/who will they go to
- Who do you want to benefit from your will
- Who is set to care for any children involved under the age of 18
- Who is going to sort out your estate or carry it on for you once you have passed
- Your residence can affect your will if you are not a British Citizen
- Any sentimental possessions or special circumstances that need to be considered.
Finalising your will
In finalizing your will, you will run through everything to make sure nothing is missed and everything is correct. Once you are happy with your will, you should keep it in a safe place and tell your executor, who is either a close friend or relative where it is kept. If a solicitor makes your will, they will often keep the original copy and send you another copy. You are allowed to hold the original copy should you want to.
Once this is complete, you must bear in mind that you should make alterations to your will every five years, or after any major event in your life, including marital status change, a new child, moving house or gaining more property and assets.
As mentioned above it is advisable to use a Solicitor to make a will and this is especially good advice if you have special circumstances and are unsure how these will affect your will. If you do not understand the law and write the will with no guidance those you are aiming to protect could face loses or your wishes may be taken as valid if they do not comply with law. Below are some situations which make it especially prudent to use a solicitor when creating your will.
When a property has been purchased with another individual who is not the wife, husband or civil partner of the deceased.
When there are several family members who make a claim on the will, for instance ex partners or children from a previous marriage.
You live outside the UK permanently
You are not a British Citizen
When there is Business involved.
Please be sure to take these issues into consideration when constructing your will, always be sure to have a will in case of unforeseeable circumstances and remember to update your will when you are able if circumstances in your life change.