Last month we mentioned the importance of making Wills.
By making a Will you can ensure that your wishes are known concerning the distribution of your money and assets, and after you die these can be carried out.
If you do not make a Will then your assets will be distributed according to a strict formula laid down by law which in most circumstances will not match your wishes. You will also have missed the opportunity to reduce Inheritance Tax.
It is important when making your Will to consider everyone for whom you are responsible. If you do not then the administration of your estate can be delayed possibly for a long time by claims brought by people who feel that they ought to have had a share.
The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1973 allows for family members and people who are financially dependant upon you to make a claim in the court to vary the distribution of your money after you die if they are excluded from your Will or feel that they have not been left enough.
You can take steps to limit the chances of your relatives having to deal with these claims by giving careful consideration to whom you owe an obligation and whether you have included them in your Will and if so whether the amount they Will receive would be enough.
You should ensure that you seek specialist legal advice about the making or changing of your Will. You should also review your Will or make one when your situation changes for example if you get married or divorced or if you have children. It is important to remember that if you marry this marriage revokes a previous Will. A Will that may have been appropriate ten years ago may not now be adequate for the job.
Wills can be challenged in other ways also. The person making the Will must be mentally capable of doing so and must understand the extent of their assets. If it is believed that the person lacks capability or capacity as it is known then their Will can be ignored when assets are divided. Again this is a potentially lengthy, stressful, and expensive process for those involved.
For this reason specialist qualified advice should be sought when making or changing your Will to ensure that it is not open to challenge.
Additionally, with ever rising house prices, more and more people are finding that their family will have to pay Inheritance Tax after they die. Taxation is sadly unavoidable in many cases but professional advice can help limit how much tax would need to be paid and it is possible to avoid tax altogether in certain circumstances.
Again specialist legal advice should be sought to see if your Will is as tax efficient as it might be. A good way of ensuring you get specialist Will and Inheritance Tax advice is to look for a solicitor who is also a Registered Trust and Estate Practitioner marked by the letters TEP.
If you need to make a Will, would like inheritance tax advice or you believe you have a claim against a Will, Paul Finn Solicitors can help call us on 01288 356 256. We will help you quickly and efficiently, and provide the correct solution for you.
Director, Paul Finn Solicitors
Tel: 01288 356 256