One third of us die without leaving a valid Will. Dying without a Will can cause a problem for your family and it can mean that your estate will end up with the government. The government claims approximately £25 million each year from unclaimed estates.
You may well have said to yourself “there is no need to make a Will my money and home will pass where I want it to anyway.” That is not always the case. If your spouse dies without having made a Will you do not automatically receive all of his or her estate. The law may give you as the surviving spouse only a small part of it depending upon the value of the estate and the number of other family members who have survived.
Wills are an essential part of financial planning.
One element of that financial planning is for couples (married or unmarried) to consider whether they should incorporate a special trust within their Wills in order to reduce the impact on their capital of the payment of nursing home fees.
The government estimate that one in five of us will move into residential care. If the resident lives in residential care for a long time then there may be nothing left for their family.
Trusts are very useful in Will writing because they can be used to shelter part of your home and if necessary your other investments from the payment of nursing home fees after the death of one of you.
When making a Will think about your partner’s state of health and how they will cope financially if they have to go into a nursing home.
Once you have made a will keep it up to date. You will probably have made your Will before the financial downturn. The current economic climate means that the value of your assets may have diminished and this will impact on the amount that is left under your Will.
It is therefore extremely important to review your Will to consider whether any gifts are still appropriate or whether they should be reduced or removed.
Whilst it was important to undertake planning when times were good it is even more important to plan well when times are tough so as to make the most of what we have.
Since your Will was prepared there may have been changes in your personal circumstances or those of your family or changes in legislation for example the inheritance tax regulations which mean that other changes to your Will should be made.
Use a solicitor to make a Will or review your Will. Do not use a will writing service who profess to be experts. You may think “oh that is just a solicitor worried about competition from other people.” Those of you who watched the Panorama programme on 9 August 2010 “Wills the final rip off” will not need to be warned. For those of you who did not the programme found that will writing services/companies could be untruthful, and expensive. The organisations are generally, unregulated, unqualified, and uninsured. We as solicitors are regulated, qualified and insured.
We at Dixon Stewart offer you free home visits free initial advice without any obligation, free deeds storage free Will storage and if you have made your Will with us free registration of your will in a National Will Register.
So make a Will, keep it under regular review and use a solicitor.
Contact Jenny Eley on 01425 621515 or Helen Stewart on 01425 279222 for a free interview without obligation