Thinking about what might happen to your assets or your loved ones when you are no longer here can seem very daunting.
But that should not put you off, as the potential impact of not doing so could have significant consequences.
If you have children or loved ones that are dependent on you financially, and perhaps for your care or support, who would you like to look after them?
Dying without a Will does not automatically mean that people, who you would like to care for your loved ones, will automatically have the right to do so.
So, what is a Will?
A Will is, effectively, a formal expression of your wishes regarding what you would like to happen to things, including your children, your home and other financial assets, such as savings and investments. It also covers practicalities such as your funeral arrangements.
A Will makes practical sense as it can alleviate a lot of stress and anxiety for those you leave behind. It can also be used alongside Trusts to save the deceased’s estate paying Inheritance Tax unnecessarily.
If you die without leaving a Will, then you are said to have died ‘intestate’ and there are rules that govern what will happen to your assets and children in these circumstances. These rules, referred to as the ‘rules of intestacy’, are complex and are different in Scotland than they are in England and Wales.
The emotional and financial costs of dying intestate can be devastating.
Trusts are formal legal arrangements whereby one or more Trustees look after assets for one or more beneficiaries of a trust. The trustees have responsibility for managing the trust’s assets which will have been provided by the ‘Settlor’. The trust itself is governed by rules; some of which will express the wishes of the Settlor and others are governed by Trust Law.
Trust assets – usually money, property or investments – typically pass to the beneficiary (e.g. when he/she reaches a certain age) or may be held indefinitely to provide them with a defined benefit, for example a place to live or an income.
When set up correctly, a trust can provide an enduring family legacy, ensuring beneficiaries retain the rights to generational wealth that could have been accumulated over many generations. They are also a great way of legitimately reducing the amount of tax payable on death.
Given the complexities of families, it is often worth seeking professional advice, which you can read about below.
In the meantime, for more general information about Wills, Citizens Advice have an extremely useful guide, which you can Read Here.
Similarly, the Money Advice Service has a great guide to setting up a trust, which you can Read Here.
If you are concerned about your circumstances and would like help with ensuring your Wills are set up correctly then you should seek professional help. Similarly, if you would like advice on how trusts could help keep your assets within the family, whilst reducing the amount of tax your estate may have to pay, you should seek professional help.
Here at Assured Life Advisers, we have been confidently referring clients to Accord Legal Services for several years. Accord Legal Services have a national team of qualified Will Writers and Trust specialists who will take their time to ensure they fully understand your current and foreseeable circumstances and will make suggestions as to how you can protect your estate for your loved ones.
Call Accord Legal Services now on 01744 807048 or click here to be directed to their website where you can find out more and arrange to speak with a qualified adviser.