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Wills & Inheritance - October 27th, 2020
A part of making sure that our wishes are clear is having an up-to-date Will. Here is a list of five events that could mean it’s time to talk to a solicitor.
Although it may all seem like a long way into the future, we all like to think that our affairs will be well organised, and our wishes are clear. A vital part of this is having an up-to-date Will. But, if we first make that Will relatively early on in our lives, it’s highly likely that there will be a number of events over the course of a lifetime that will mean it needs to be altered through the use of a codicil, or even re-written.
Here is a list, by no means definitive, of five specific events that could mean it’s time to talk to a solicitor like Eatons about making those changes, or even writing your first-ever will.
When you get married it’s almost certain that you’ll want to include your new partner in your Will. But there is a far more pressing reason than that to write a new one. This is because, with the exception of wills written “in contemplation” of a forthcoming marriage, when you do marry it automatically revokes any previous Wills you may have made. This potentially leaves you in a state of intestacy which can cause many issues if you do die without writing a new Will.
When a couple divorce it doesn’t revoke a Will, but it does treat the situation as one in which the other partner has pre-deceased the holder of the particular Will. This means that any bequests that you have included in it are no longer valid and their value is returned to the estate. So, if you did still want an ex-spouse to be a beneficiary in your will you would need to expressly state this in a new one. It may also be that one or other of the divorced couple might have new partners and possibly even stepchildren. If this is the case, then they would also need to be written into the new will.
It is only natural that, when you have children, you will want to ensure they are included in your will. It may even be the case that you want to nominate a guardian for your children in the event of the death of both you and your partner before the children reach the age of 18. It might also be a good time to start taking advice on the steps that you can take to limit the amount of inheritance tax that may be payable in the future, for example by setting up a trust.
Of all of the assets that most people hold, their home is one of the largest in terms of value. So, it makes sense to consider a house move or sale as a good reason to revise a will. By leaving property to a spouse or a civil partner it will mean that there is no inheritance tax to pay and by leaving it to children or grandchildren it can increase your tax-free threshold to £500,000 instead of the standard level of £375,000. We will be happy to explain more about this if we meet.
Receiving a legacy
Finally, if you ever find yourself fortunate to be left a substantial financial legacy by a relative or friend, this will increase the size of your estate. To make provision for other beneficiaries in your own will, it could be a good idea to revisit it in order to account for this increased level of wealth and prepare for at least some of it to be passed on when you die.
So, if you are soon to experience any of these events, or anticipate that it may be on the horizon, we would be pleased to discuss your options and arrange the re-writing of your will.
At Eatons, we have a great deal of experience of advising all kinds of clients about the sorts of wills that might be most appropriate for them as well as advising on trusts and other related legal matters. So if you’d like to find out more, why not arrange an initial appointment today?
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