Thinking about our own death isn’t easy.
Most of us feel a sense of discomfort when asked to consider what will happen after we die. For this reason many of us avoid making a Will. Others perceive the whole process to be too complicated, time consuming and costly.
At the same time we know that making a Will is the responsible thing to do. It gives us peace of mind knowing that we have made provision for our loved ones and that our property and possessions (i.e. our Estate) will be dealt with in accordance with our wishes. It’s far from depressing to make a Will. On the contrary, it feels good to sort everything out for the future.
This is particularly important:
· if you have children under the age of 18
· if you have been married again
· if you are living with a partner
· if you are a single parent
· if you need to help a disabled person
· if you want to divide up your property
· if you want to pass your home to someone other than your spouse
· if you are involved in a family trust
· if you own a business or substantial holding in a private company
· if you jointly own a property and only one of the owners resides there.
What happens if I don’t make a Will?
If you die without making a Will, you are considered to be intestate. This means that your Estate will be divided amongst your family and close relatives according to rules laid down by Parliament and not how you might wish. This can cause problems for your family and sometimes hardship for those you love the most.
When you die without making a Will then an Administrator may be appointed (usually a surviving spouse or nearest relative if they are prepared to undertake the task). They may not have been your choice and you may not have wished them to have such a burden.
Another factor is that any part of your Estate which goes to children under the age of 18 will be put in a trust until they reach 18 or when they marry (if before the age of 18). This type of trust is regulated according to strict rules and the trustees have very limited powers of investment.
Lastly, if you die intestate, you will have lost the opportunity to minimise the Inheritance Tax which is payable on your Estate. At present, Estates in excess of £300,000 (from April 2007) attract a rate of tax of 40%. This greatly decreases the value of your Estate to your beneficiaries.
Making a Will the Easy Way
To avoid the pitfalls in making a Will, first and foremost you need to consult a solicitor who will understand your needs. Once you have taken the decision to make a Will and have discussed your wishes with an experienced solicitor, you quickly realise that the process is not nearly as complicated or as costly as you may have imagined.
One of our Experienced Solicitors will Help You
…list your assets – People are usually surprised when they start to list the money, property and items they own!
…appoint an Executor – An Executor is the person who takes charge of administering your Estate after death. You may name up to four, who may be friends, relatives or professional advisors. Appointing an Executor can prevent delays in monies being released to your family.
…decide what you want to leave to whom – The next decision you have to make is who you want to remember in your Will and whether you want to leave certain valued belongings to anyone in particular. As well as your partner, family and possible close friends, you may also want to consider making a legacy to a favourite charity.
…say how you want to leave it – There are various types of gifts you can make, but your solicitor will advise which is best in your case.
…make provision for your children – At this time you should also give careful consideration as to who you would like to care for your children if they are under the age of 18.
Why not discuss all of the above with Paul Finn Solicitors who will offer you expert help and guidance.
For an appointment please telephone us at Bude, Cornwall on 01288 356 256 or Holsworthy, Devon on 01409 255 446 call in and see us.
A Useful Guide to Words Found in Your Will
ADMINISTRATOR – A person who has legally been appointed to settle your affairs, where there is no Executor.
BENEFICIARY – An individual or company who stands to receive a gift in your Will.
CHATTELS – Personal possessions such as jewellery, furniture, car etc that are left in your Will.
ESTATE – The total of your possessions, whether chattels, house, money, investments, which you leave when you die.
INTESTATE – Under the Law you are ‘intestate’ if you die without making a Will.
PROBATE – The formal legal proof to ensure that a Will is valid.
RESIDUARY LEGACY – A gift of what is left of an Estate after all other costs have been deducted.
Meet the Probate Department
PAUL FINN, Solicitor qualified in 1973. Paul is a member of the Law Society Probate Section.
PHILIP DART, Solicitor qualified in 1980.
Both Paul & Philip are Registered Trust and Estate Practitioners.
Director, Paul Finn Solicitors
Tel: 01288 356 256