A clear, professionally drafted Will ensures that your wishes are accurately recorded, that any dependants are provided for, and that the assets you’ve worked so hard for are passed on to those you care most about. This can help to avoid the potential for misinterpretation and future disputes among beneficiaries, along with the conflict and heartache these can cause.
Without a Will, your assets will be distributed in accordance with a complex set of default legal principles, which could be a far cry from what you and your loved ones hoped for and expected.
There are certain circumstances in which a Will is particularly crucial. For example:
- Providing for dependants: If you have children or other dependants who would be unable to provide or care for themselves when you’re gone, a properly drafted Will allows you to put in place arrangements to ensure your dependants are looked after as you would wish.
- Ensuring the welfare of co-habiting partners: If you’re in a committed long-term relationship, but haven’t tied the knot (either through marriage or civil partnership), you need a Will to ensure that your partner is looked after in the long-term. This is because the law doesn’t give partners the same rights as spouses, meaning a partner with whom you have lived for decades could inherit nothing from your estate, or even lose the right to continue living in your former home.
- Looking after ex-spouses or civil partners: If you were previously married or in a civil partnership but have since divorced or dissolved the partnership, the law may not give your ex-partner any right to your assets. In such circumstances, you can use a Will to provide for members of your family – past as well as present.
- Providing for the long-term: If you want to leave money to loved ones, but want them to use that money for a specific purpose, you could use a Will to create a trust that will only allow the beneficiaries to access the money for your desired purposes. For example, the Will could dictate that your children can only spend the money on a university education or a property.
- Protecting the value of your assets: You can use a Will to protect your assets, minimising the tax liabilities that your beneficiaries may incur, and above all providing for your loved ones in the most tax effective way possible.
- Protecting your business: Apart from the family home, shares in a business can be one of your most valuable assets, however leaving these shares in your Will is not straightforward, depending on a number of factors, including the structure of the business and how much involvement you wish your beneficiaries to have in the business in future.
One of our highly-experienced Will writing specialists will sensitively and meticulously guide you through the entire process of creating a Will. This includes ensuring that your wishes are recorded precisely, that you understand your options, and that you’re aware of any legal limitations that could affect your proposed distribution of assets, giving you greater certainty and peace of mind.
We can also help you mitigate any inheritance or capital gains tax, and can advise on whether it would be useful – for practical reasons or from a tax planning perspective – to create a trust for the benefit of your beneficiaries.
Even if you already have a Will, it’s equally important to keep it up to date to reflect the ever changing nature of your assets, personal relationships and motivations. This can avoid any confusion or ambiguity when it comes to distributing your assets in the future.
How can we help?
If you would like us to help you plan ahead, please don’t hesitate to get in touch for more information about our Wills, tax planning, and trusts-related legal services. We’ll offer a competitive quote, with no hidden extras.
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