Tag Archive: writing a will

  1. Still Not Written Your Will? Your Estate Could Go to the Crown

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    Writing a Will is often an activity that many put off, either avoiding the fees involved or avoiding having to address the morbid practicalities of what should happen to your investments and estate once you’re gone.

    It’s not the easiest subject to address, however getting your Will written is one of the most important tasks you will carry out in your lifetime.

    Dying intestate (i.e. without a Will) can have huge repercussions on your loved ones.

    The only way to guarantee that your assets are left to those who matter most, and not taken into possession by the crown, is to write a will.

      

    What could happen to my assets if I don’t write a Will?

    DRN have done the research for you and pulled together a list of six possibilities that your family could encounter if you pass away intestate.

     

    It could lead to an unexpected tax bill

    The law allows you to leave at least the first £325,000 of your estate to your heirs tax-free. However, anything above this sum may be liable for inheritance tax, charged at a rate of 40%. This can be avoided if you leave everything to your spouse in a Will, in which case there would be no inheritance tax to pay.

     

    It could leave your spouse or partner worse off

    Anything you own jointly with your partner, including any property you own as joint tenants or any funds that are held in joint accounts, will automatically pass to the joint owner. This may or may not be your partner.

    The other assets of your estate will be dealt with under the intestacy rules and do not automatically pass to a partner.

    In England and Wales, the current law ensures that your spouse receives the first £250,000 and half of whatever exceeds this sum, with the remainder split between your children. If you do not have children, different rules apply.

     

    If you don’t have a Will, your estate could go to the Crown

    In most cases in the UK, if you don’t have family to pass your estate along to, it will fall into the possession of the Crown. If you reside in Cornwall or Lancashire and this is the case, the estate will pass to the Duchy, who in turn generally donates it to charity.

     

    You won’t be able to specify who should receive heirlooms and items of sentimental value

    There may be items of value, such as collectibles or family heirlooms, that you hold dear and would like to be passed along to the right people following your death – those you know will take good care of the items and see the value in them that you see. The only way to guarantee that these items end up in the right hands is to specify which items should be passed to whom in your Will.

    Simply promising certain items to particular children, friends and family members whilst you’re alive unfortunately isn’t enough, and if a Will is not written, again they will pass under the intestacy rules and may pass to your spouse. In cases of second and third marriages these items may have no value at all to the surviving spouse.

     

    Your stepchildren won’t receive anything

    You will need to outline your intentions for your step-children in your Will as, unless you have formally adopted them, even if you’ve raised a stepchild as your own, they will not receive anything of yours after you’ve passed under the rules of intestacy.

     

    Your assets could be inherited by a separated spouse

    Unless you are fully divorced, the law will see you as a spouse upon your death. This is the case even for those who have been separated for a number of years and have moved on to live with another partner. Without a divorce registered and a decree absolute obtained, your estranged spouse will be entitled to some or all of your estate if you do not have a Will.

     

    Choose DRN to help you with writing your Will

    If you’re seeking the peace of mind that your assets and financial affairs will be dealt with according to your preferences upon your death, making a Will or setting up a trust are amongst the best ways you can make sure your wishes are fulfilled.

    It’s never too early to put plans in place, and our team can provide practical, honest and informed advice on the various aspects involved when securing your loved ones’ futures.

    The professionals at DRN will always take the time to fully understand your needs and wishes, approaching your case with the individual attention that it deserves.

    Contact us today to find out how our expert Wills and probate team of solicitors can help to get your affairs in order.

  2. Top Tips for a Peaceful Retirement

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    After a lifetime of dedicating yourself to your loved ones, your career and your passions, retirement is the time you can finally reap the benefits of all of your hard work and properly experience the culmination of a lifetime of planning.

    However, the prospect of such a huge lifestyle change doesn’t spark excitement in all, and uncertainty about what the future might hold can be stressful. The best way to alleviate some of that confusion surrounding the future is to continue planning for it, and this includes making a will.

    As you’ve made sound choices to build and protect your savings and assets throughout your working life, it’s important to continue protecting those assets for your loved ones and yourself.

    The leading wills and probate lawyers from DRN’s branches in Burnley, Colne and Ramsbottom have provided some expert advice and compiled a short guide to help you plan the support for your family when you’re no longer around.

     

    Enlist the expert support of a wills and probate lawyer 

    Whilst it is possible to create a will yourself, the process can be complex and mistakes are fairly easy to make if you’ve never done it before. With many DIY wills, important information is often accidentally left out and, in a worst-case scenario, this can mean that your beneficiaries do not receive what you wish for them. They could even be made liable to pay for fees or taxes in your name.

    Working with a qualified solicitor when drafting your will give you coverage by the official Solicitors’ Regulation Authority. On top of securing your will, they will be able to offer you expert advice on a range of topics, including providing details on your inheritance tax allowance, enabling you to make informed decisions now to aid your loved ones in the future.

     

    Choose Executors and Powers of Attorney wisely 

    The executor of your will will be in charge of exercising your wishes and managing your assets after you’re gone. Selecting your executor is a big decision, and with them holding so much responsibility it’s important that you invest in someone you can trust. Before making your decision, it’s also a good idea to talk through your plans and ensure that they know what the role will entail.

    One of the most common myths surrounding legal decision-making is that your next of kin will be able to make decisions on your behalf should you lack the capacity to do so yourself. Sadly, this is not the case. No one person is able to act on your behalf unless they are legally authorised to do so, whether this is to do with your assets or your health.

    Making sure a Lasting Power of Attorney is in place as early as possible is the safest way to ensure your wishes are adhered to by people that you trust. It can take around 12 weeks for an LPA registration to be authorised, so it’s a good idea to get it secured as soon as possible to avoid facing stresses when the time comes to needing it.

     

    Review your decisions regularly

    It’s important to remember that the decisions outlined in your will aren’t set in stone – you are entitled to change your mind. Review your choices as often as you see fit, and don’t be afraid to speak up if some of those decisions shift and change.

    Having your will and executors secured before you reach retirement will give you peace of mind, allowing you to enjoy your time as a retiree as fully as possible. Whilst it’s often a difficult discussion, it’s important to have the conversation with family and loved ones about your wishes after death. Taking the time to think about how you can continue to protect those closest to you can make a big difference to their futures, and initiating that conversation is a necessary, but ultimately very positive, step.

     

    The will and probate team here at DRN have years of legal experience and are on-hand to guide you through the whole process of writing your will.

    Contact us today on 01282 433 241 to find out more about how we can ensure your wishes are met after you’re gone.

     

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