A good starting point when it comes to estate planning is to prepare a list of your assets, consider who you would like to appoint as your Executors and or Trustees and ultimately who you would like to benefit from your estate.
We have compiled a list of some dos and don’ts to help you navigate your way through the process more seamlessly.
- Do make sure you review and update your will regularly, especially when major life events occur, such as if you get married or re-married, financial circumstances change and so on. This will ensure that your will continues to accurately reflect your wishes and to ensure that your will remains valid.
- Do update your appointed Executors of any future executed wills.
- Do make sure you consider inheritance tax planning opportunities that would apply to your circumstances. Our legal partner can offer advice and guidance to help you with this. For example, there may be charity, agricultural and business property reliefs available, so book a call back today.
- Do consider claims against your estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975. This is particularly important if, for example, you have a former spouse who considers that they are still entitled to a share of your estate, or perhaps adult children who may have been left out of your will as they are no longer financially dependent.
- Do consider incorporating trusts into your will as there may be circumstances where you would prefer that your estate doesn’t go directly to the beneficiaries, but rather, that it is held on behalf of those beneficiaries in a particular way.
- Do make sure you consider everything, not just your assets such as your funeral arrangements, your pets and even your social media accounts – read more on this below.
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- Don’t put off making or updating a will, unfortunately nobody knows what’s around the corner and it’s important to make sure that your loved ones are protected.
- Don’t assume that the default intestacy (next of kin) rules will work in your favour. For example, your surviving spouse may remarry and potentially your estate could pass to beneficiaries you (and your children and grandchildren) have never met.
- Don’t assume that all assets pass under the terms of your will. Consider how your property is held, the terms of your pension scheme, terms of a life insurance policy etc.
- Don’t forget about digital assets, make sure to consider including provision for them in your will. Make sure to provide a list of passwords to your appointed Executor but don’t put any sensitive information into the will itself as once a Grant of Probate has been issued, the will becomes a public document.
- Don’t keep your will a secret. It is important to ensure that your Executors are aware of your will and where to locate the original will as and when this is required.
For more information and advice on wills contact our legal expert by booking a call back below.