We are living in times of rapid change. Take a look at the events in Westminster over the last fortnight for example. Our personal lives may not be as hectic, but over a period time, our circumstances almost certainly change. Whether the change is good or bad, it is sensible to take stock and review. How do you expect to divide up your estate when the inevitable happens?
We are living in unpredictable times as well as fast moving change. Even more reason to review and plan ahead. But for the majority of us, a change in personal circumstances should prompt us to pause and reflect.
What change in circumstances is likely to prompt a review?
The welcome addition of children into the family. Whether a first born, grandchildren or great grandchildren, we naturally want to make sure they inherit easily and fairly.
Marriage is an important occasion in everyone’s life and a well drafted Will safeguards your family and their inheritance. Marriage also revokes a Will making all previous Wills are null and void. Preparing a new Will is essential for anyone marrying again, especially if they have children from the first marriage.
Retirement brings a significant change in lifestyle. This is the time to review finances and make plans for the years ahead, including reviewing your Will.
Unexpected life threatening diseases and illnesses are all too common and most unwelcome as we get older. Preparing your Will when your health is good, and regularly reviewing it, is one less worry if you are unfortunate enough to see ill health. I have personal experience of unexpected heart bypass surgery and know the distractions this provokes! Click to read ‘On the Outside looking In’.
Generational Tax Planning
Reviewing your Will potentially helps your children and grandchildren plan their finances. They may not have an inheritance tax problem now, but they could if they inherit directly from you. For example, Mr and Mrs X’s estate is valued at £250,000 and their un-married son’s estate is worth £200,000. None of them have inheritance tax problems whilst Mr and Mrs X are alive, but when their son inherits from them he has an immediate tax liability. He will be worth £450,000, which is £125,000 over the allowance and vulnerable to £50,000 tax. If Mr and Mrs X review their Wills they can help their son avoid the liability by considering a Will trust.
It is not un-common for some families to wish to dis-inherit a close family member. To meet a possible dis-inheritance claim, the Will must be robust with supporting notes and explanations to meet the court’s scrutiny. If you wish to dis-inherit someone, it is wise to review your Will to make sure your wishes will be met. In addition, you can check that your intended beneficiaries will inherit trouble free.
These are just some of the reasons to review your Will. There will be more because not every family has the same set of circumstances.