There is no denying that 2020 is a year which will go down in history – for many reasons. The global pandemic, Brexit, and the fallout from these events has had a significant impact on many areas of our lives. These events may have far-reaching implications for your finances, your relationships and your business interests. As a result, the New Year could be an excellent time to write a Will or to review your existing Will. In this article, Private Client Solicitor, Sohret Haffenden, takes a look at some of the things you should consider.
Recent research by Royal London determined that a shocking 54% of UK adults do not have a Will. This includes 59% of parents who either do not have a Will or have one that does not accurately reflect their wishes. As a parent we want what is best for our children. In your Will you can appoint a guardian to take care of your children on the death of both parents/carers with parental responsibility. If you do not appoint a guardian in your Will, the Court may appoint someone for you. This process will incur costs and the appointed guardian may not be the person you would prefer to look after your children. If you have not made a Will, you have no control over what happens to your assets after you pass away. If you have children, own property, have savings or investments, or run a business, making a Will is particularly important to ensure your estate goes to the people you care about.
If your circumstances have changed this year, you should update your Will to reflect those changes. Perhaps you have changed career (which has affected the value of your estate and how you would like your estate to be distributed), moved home, got married or divorced, or welcomed a new baby to the family. Or perhaps your chosen beneficiaries’ circumstances have changed and you would like to vary their share of your estate. In any of these circumstances, you should update your Will to ensure it is reflective of your current situation and wishes.
Many people need to change the executors or beneficiaries that are named in their Will for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you have outlived them, or maybe the relationship has deteriorated and another relationship has grown which you would like to reflect in your Will. In this case, you would need to create a new Will to replace them to avoid complications in the event of your death.
This year has been challenging for businesses. With adjustments to lockdown restrictions, some businesses may have flourished while others have struggled. If your business interests have changed significantly, now might be a good time to review both your Will and your succession plan for your business.
It is always advisable to review your Will and estate regularly in line with current tax legislation, reliefs and opportunities to save on Inheritance Tax. Reviewing your affairs can be a great way to start the year. It allows you to understand where you are financially, and to effectively make plans for the future, knowing that your Will is up to date.
Members of our Private Client team are on hand to advise on any issues relating to Wills, Probate, Trusts, Powers of Attorney and Deputyship. Please telephone 01892 526344 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.