Time to take a look at Wills…

A new year brings resolutions, most of which will have been forgotten about by the end of January.

So, if your resolutions have fallen by the wayside already, do not despair.  How about setting yourself a “to do list” and taking it one step at a time to cross everything off?  Our suggestion would be that the list should include making a Will, or reviewing your existing Will to ensure that it still fulfils your wishes.

Here are some reasons why you should make a Will:

  1. Funeral wishes – although this may have been discussed with family members, at a time of grief, it is good to have something written down as a reminder as to those wishes;
  2. Guardians – if you are the parent of a minor child, you can appoint a guardian in your Will. The appointment will only take effect if there is no one else who has parental responsibility;
  3. Age – the law states that a child can inherit at 18. However, you may wish to increase this age so as to ensure maturity and can use your Will to stipulate an age which you consider to be more appropriate;
  4. Blended families – if you were to die intestate (without a Will), certain family members such as partners and step-children are not provided for. The increase of “blended” families makes the importance of a Will greater than ever;
  5. Ringfencing assets – if you are a “blended” family, you may wish to make provision for your second spouse or new partner but ultimately ensure that your capital passes to your children from your first marriage/relationship. You can use your Will to make such provisions;
  6. Tax planning – if your estate is worth more than £325,000, it may be liable for inheritance tax. You can make provision in your Will so as reduce or avoid this liability;
  7. Care home fee planning – there are steps that you can take by appropriately drafting your Will to reduce your liability to pay for residential care costs; and finally

For some families the intestacy rules do achieve what they would have wanted and therefore the need to make a Will is not so urgent.  However, by having a Will, it gives the family left behind certainty that they have fulfilled your final wishes.

If you would like any further information, please contact Kirsten Bradley at odonnells solicitors on 01772 881000 or via Kirsten.bradley@odonnells-solicitors.co.uk.