Monday, January 9, 2012

Where there's a Will, there's a way.

Family Matters.
Putting our affairs in order is something that can be helpful to those we leave behind, but being able to talk about our intentions with those we love is also an important part of the process.  I have invited Susan Shaw to share her expertise with us.

Why Write a Will? 
Oscar Wilde said “The opposite of love is not hate it is indifference.”
Deciding not to bother to write a Will can leave loved ones with shocking problems and major tax bills.
It is estimated that in excess of 60 % of the population do not have Wills. In such cases the State will distribute assets and a family may be left in bitter disagreement.

·      It is commonly thought that a legally married spouse inherits everything in all circumstances. This is not true.
·      It is commonly thought that orphaned children are handed over to next of kin. This is not true either. They become the responsibility of the Local Authority unless there is a Will which appoints guardians.
·      It is commonly thought that a ‘common law spouse’ or long term partner inherits. This is not true. That person has no inheritance rights.

A Will demonstrates lifetime care for others.

With the correct expert advice it can also ensure that children do not inherit when they are too young, and that loss is not caused by Tax or Care Fees.

Having children radically changes the way we view life.
Most people have life assurance, and many families also have health insurance.
 For all this protection we pay quite a lot of money every month but even in these hard times we keep up with these payments if we possibly can.
A Will is essential family protection and you only have to pay for it once. It may cost less than one month’s outlay for the rest of your family protection.

Radical changes to the law of Inheritance Tax occurred in 2007. If the Wills of a married couple predate 2007 they should be checked now as they may not be fully tax effective.

Specialist advice is essential and may save a great deal of money. For example:
·      The inheritance of children of a former marriage can be protected.
·      The surviving spouse’s interests can be provided for and trusts can be put in place guaranteeing the inheritance of the next generation.
·      If any member of the family is in receipt of social benefits their entitlement can be protected.
·      Using Trusts within your Will can preserve assets from Care Fees and prevent young beneficiaries from squandering their inheritance.
·      If you own business property or agricultural property then a trust can also save a great deal of inheritance tax.

Wills are not expensive and they are not a recurring cost.

If you would like to know more, contact:
Susan Shaw LL.M.     01428 712856
Member of the Surrey Law Society, Institute of Professional Will Writers.
Affiliate of the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners.
This article is necessarily brief. Specialist advice should always be sought.

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