Wills & Trusts Lawyers Irvine & Saltcoats

Wills & Trusts

No one likes to contemplate their own death, or the death of their loved ones and this is why many people put off making a will.

It is estimated that around one third of people in the UK die without having made a valid will and without one the cost and time taken to administer your estate after your death could increase significantly.  It could also lead to additional worry and stress for your loved ones at what is an already difficult time.

By making a will you decide what happens to your property and possessions after your death.  It is the only way you can ensure your estate is passed on to the people you wish.  Seeking expert advice can also help to minimise the portion of inheritance tax that is paid on your death.

Your will does not take effect until your death and therefore it is possible to make amendments to your will at any point in the future.  In fact, it is strongly recommended that your will should be reviewed every few years or after any change of personal circumstances, for example, marriage in the family, children, grandchildren etc.

Making a will is simple, inexpensive, and not time consuming, yet the benefits of having a will are significant.  Not only will you have peace of mind that it is the people who you have chosen will both deal with and benefit from your estate, but also that your loved ones will not have the added stress and costs involved in dealing with an intestate estate.

The advantages of making a will are numerous.  While it is easy to delay the preparation of a will, the benefits of having a professionally prepared will cannot be underestimated.

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Although it is possible to make a will yourself, this is not advisable. For example the forms you can fill in online can look simple but it is very easy to make a mistake which can invalidate the will.  There are numerous legal requirements which must be complied with in order to make a will valid. If these requirements are not fulfilled the validity of the will can be challenged and this can result in a lengthy and expensive process. In addition it can result in the will being considered unacceptable and this will result in your estate being dealt with by the laws of intestacy rather than how you would have wished.

Dying without a will can lead to many problems and can cause a great deal of delay, expense and distress to your loved ones who are left to deal with your estate.  if you die without leaving a valid will instead of your estate being divided as you would have wanted your estate is distributed under the laws of intestacy.  This can result in complications and the laws of intestacy do not adequately account for modern family situations, for example:-

  • It can result in huge problems for unmarried partners, particularly where children are involved.  If you are living together with your partner but are not married your partner does not have automatic right to your assets;
  • Even if you are married the whole estate does not necessarily go to the surviving husband or wife;
  • If you die with no will and have no relatives your estate will pass to the crown;
  • If you have children and have no will or nominated guardians for your children then the court will decide who will look after them if you pass away;
  • The laws of intestacy do not make provision for children from a previous marriage or step families;
  • It can open up the possibility of long and protracted legal battles between friends, partners and relatives;
  • When there is no will you cannot state at which age you wish young beneficiaries to inherit, For example, if you have young grandchildren you could state in your will that you do not wish them to inherit until they reach the age of 21 – if there is no will they will be able to inherit at 16;
  • Without a will your wishes are completely ignored;
  • Additional costs and delays are incurred when winding up an intestate estate.

Your will can cover a variety of matters, including;

  • What happens to the assets in your estate, for example items of sentimental value you wish to pass to loved ones
  • Who your executor will be, which is the trusted person you elect to manage your affairs after you die
  • Any specific requests you have for your funeral, for example if you prefer burial or cremation
  • Your Will can include donations to any charities that are important to you
  • Inheritance tax planning, if this applies to you 
  • Making arrangements for any children you may have

 

Making a will allows you to nominate a suitable person to deal with your affairs when you pass away, someone you know and trust.  This person is responsible for winding up matters.  It is a common misconception that the executor cannot benefit from the estate but this is not the case.  For instance your spouse can be your executor and they can also be the sole beneficiary of your estate.  If you do not have a valid will the court will appoint an executor based on the laws of intestacy rather than on your personal preference.

Your will does not take effect until your death and therefore it is possible to make amendments to your will at any point in the future. In fact, it is strongly recommended that your will should be reviewed every few years or on any change of personal circumstances, for example, marriage in the family, children, grandchildren, or nieces and nephews. Perhaps someone who is named in your will has passed away or you simply no longer wish to have them named as a beneficiary.

Trusts

We can also assist in setting up and administering a trust.  Trusts can become part of your life for many reasons and can be created to protect children, as a tax-planning tool or for charitable purposes. Whatever the reason for your trust, we would be happy to discuss your requirements with you. For more information, call us or click on one of the team below.

 

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