Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Consider This When Making a Will ...

When making a Will, especially if it is for the first time, there are several important things that need to be decided.

Who will be your Executor?
Most married couples place their spouse as their executor, but it is always good practise to have "reserve" Executor, who could help or take over should the need arise.  Reserve Executors are good to have in order to cater for all eventualties - what if you and your spouse died together - who would look after your Estate in that case?

Who would you want to be your Child's Guardian?
This is a complex decision with many layers - not least because this is to safeguard your most prized possession, your Children. Who holds the same values, morals and maybe religious beliefs as you?

In the case of an unmarried couple, the mother would automatically Parental Rights, but the unmarried father does not.  He would not be granted Parental Rights in the event of the Mother's death unless: he is the named father on the birth certificate, he has a Parent Right Agreement (registered) or marries the mother.

Not appointing Guardians can cause a massive headache for all involved after the fact.  What if both sides of the family wanted to look after the children?  I have heard accounts of children being dragged through the courts because both sides of the family thought they were best for the job.  The only loser in that equation is the child who has not only suffered the tragic loss of both parents, but also the happy extended family he once knew.

Legacies
Is there anything that you would like to leave a loved one? It doesn't have to be expensive, but I advise all my clients that they should be looking at this in terms of sentimentality. Is there something you have that would mean a lot to someone to have? Maybe a ring, painting or simply a favourite item of clothing. By stating this in the Will, no matter how detailed, you can save potential arguments over who gets what after you have gone.  If there are lots of items to list, it is a good idea to keep an inventory and list the beneficiaries next to each item.  But remember to document that inventory with the Will and keep it together.

Residual Estate
This is what is left over after the deduction of debts, tax, gifts of money and any other expenses. For most people this is their spouse, children or grandchildren. The inheritance tax threshold is currently £325,000 at a rate of 40%.

Life Changes
One of the most important things to remember when writing a Will is that life changes.  Your circumstances now may be radically different in a few years time.  It is good practise to go back and review every year and in particular when going through a big life event such as a funeral, wedding, divorce or house purchase.

If you would like to discuss making your Will, call Wight Wills on 01983 897122.
For more information, visit www.wightwills.co.uk


Monday, 24 February 2014

10 Reasons To Make A Will


A Last Will & Testament is one of the most important documents you can create, but so few of us have one. Here are some good reasons why every Isle of Wight resident needs a Will. 

  1. YOU are in control.  With a Will you can dictate who receives what and how much.  Without a Will, the laws of Intestacy will come into play.  These complex set of rules date back to 1925 and are not reflective of today's modern family arrangements.  
  2. Do you have children? If so, you MUST have a Will. You may assume that your parents will have guardianship if both yourself and partner were to die, but that may not necessarily be the case.  Your child could end up in the care of Social Services while the Courts decide who should look after them.  Every Isle of Wight parent has a responsibility to their children to create a Last Will & Testament in order to ensure a guardian is appointed.  
  3. You can specify who you want to act as your executor.  Without a Will, it will fall to your next of kin, who may, for a variety of reasons, not be who you want.  
  4. Most people believe that if they die intestate, that their spouse will automatically receive everything.  This is not the case - the rules of intestacy will dictate how much your spouse receives and who else your estate will be distributed to.  
  5. It is quicker and easier for your estate to be managed if there is an existing Will in place.  Without this, it could be a lengthy process and could incur costs that were unnecessary. 
  6. If you are living with someone, but not married, they will not automatically receive anything unless you make a Will or hold the property jointly. 
  7. When you write a Will, you are able to decide at what age your children (or any minors) will be able to inherit. 
  8. The absence of a Will could lead to disputes within a family. A Will is designed to outline who receives what.  There is also the option to add 'Exclusions', which will allow you to express your wishes as to who you don't want to receive anything. 
  9. A well written Will will help your family and may reduce Inheritance tax liability.
  10. Writing a Will gives peace of mind, knowing that you have taken every effort to look after your loved ones - in any eventuality.
Don't put off writing a Will because you think you're too young or that death won't touch you.  By the time you need it, it is too late. Look after those you love - write a Will.  Write it, and then go live your life.

If you would like to discuss making your Will, call Wight Wills on 01983 897122.
For more information, visit www.wightwills.co.uk



Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Why Every Parent Should Make a Will

If you are a parent on the Isle of Wight, it is essential that you make a Will.  As a parent, we spend our days ensuring that our children are well fed, well dressed and well looked after.  Shouldn't every good parent want their child to be looked after in the best way they know how, even after they are gone?

What if you and your partner were to die tomorrow?  What would happen to your children? If you don't have a Will, do not assume that your children will go to a family member.  They will be a Ward of the State and, as such, could be put in foster care whilst the COURTS decide where to place YOUR children.

A Will is a powerful document that not only details who or where you want to leave your assetts to, but is vital when it comes to the issue of your orphaned children. A 'Guardian' is someone you nominate to look after your children when you are gone (if they are minors).

By choosing a Guardian yourself, you are ensuring that your child has the best possible future - the courts could choose someone who you would have otherwise found totally unsuitable.

Within a Will, you are also able to express certain wishes that you would  want to pass on in regards to the upbringing on your child.  For example, you may want to ensure that your religious beliefs are passed down, or that your estate pays for private medical care, or so on.

With "step" families so common now, where one of the parents is not biologically related to the child, it is even more important to express your wishes in a Will.  If a parent dies where one of the children has a step parent, more often than not, that child will be given to the remaining natural parent.  This could have all sorts of implications, particularly where siblings are involved.

I believe that every parent has a responsibility to ensure the welfare for their children - in every eventuality.

No one likes to think of dying whilst their children are still young, but it can happen, and, as such, it needs to be discussed and planned for, just in case.  Do it, and then go live your life.

If you would like to discuss making your Will, call Wight Wills on 01983 897122.
For more information, visit www.wightwills.co.uk