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Where there's a Will...

planning practical wills Aug 20, 2019

...there's a way! In this case, a way to ensure that your assets are divided the way you want them to be. This week, Guest Blogger, Dani King of Wellingborough Wills explains why you need to write a Will and what to consider.

What is a Will and why you should have one! 

What is a Will? 

Essentially, a Will is your chance to say what you want to happen to your assets when you die. 

Many people still think that writing a Will is something that you only really need to think about if you are…

  • Old
  • Have a terminal illness
  • Wealthy

…when in reality, there are many reasons to need a Will. 

Age, wealth and health are all valuable reasons, but it is generally your personal circumstances that are the most important factors to consider. 

Changes in your life can determine when it’s the right time for you to write your Will, or perhaps review and update it if you already have one in place. Some of these life events include:

  • Having a baby
  • Getting married
  • Buying a house
  • Having grandchildren
  • Separating or getting divorced

There are two main types of Will that you can have, a basic Will or a Will that includes some form of trust. The one that is right for you depends upon a number of factors, including your personal circumstances, family composition, and most importantly your aims and objectives. 

A basic Will can be described as a way to die tidily. It allows you to make direct gifts of assets to your chosen beneficiaries with no further control. You can choose who you wish to act as your executors, specify any funeral wishes, and appoint guardians for children aged under 18, should you have any. 

A Will that includes a form of trust has additional benefits and allows you greater control over what you pass on. It can also provide a lot more protection for the people that you love. 

Here are a few examples of when you might want to consider a Will with a trust:

Blended Families

This is becoming a more well-known term, and simply means families where there are children (young or adult) from previous relationships. 

With a basic Will, couples often leave everything to each other first and then their own children. This then makes the order of death matter! Whoever dies first passes their entire estate to their partner/spouse, and then when the second person dies, the estate is distributed according to their Will – their own children. This will then disinherit the children of the first person! 

A Will with a trust can protect against that, making sure that each person’s share of the estate can pass on to their own children therefore avoiding accidental disinheritance. 

Adult children

A basic Will makes a direct gift only – this means that the asset becomes part of their estate. This leaves the asset open to various threats including:

Divorce – it is considered an asset of the marriage and is therefore up for grabs during any divorce proceedings. Your child could lose some or all of their inheritance from you! 

Bankruptcy – as it forms part of their estate, it can be considered to cover any debts or in any bankruptcy proceedings, essentially wiping out their inheritance and what you worked so hard for. 

Tax – increasing the size of their estate can have tax implications too, you can tip them over the Inheritance Tax allowance, triggering a 40% charge.

Having your children’s inheritance pass to them via a trust in a Will and not as a direct gift can mitigate these threats. 

Owning property

Couples who own a property, most often own it jointly – which means each party owns 100% of the property. When one person dies, the property is automatically transferred to the other and is not able to be passed on to their chosen beneficiaries. When the second person dies, the whole property is passed on to according to their wishes only.  

It is possible to make the property a “will-able” asset, by each owning a share of the property instead. When the first person dies, their share of the property can be held on trust for their chosen beneficiaries, whilst giving the other person the right to occupy the property until they die. 

When the second person dies the property is considered to be in two parts, one part being passed on according to the first person’s wishes, and the other part according to the second person’s wishes. This can be extremely important, especially where the property is the biggest asset. Doing it this way also supports blended families, and protects adult children from external threats. 

Having grandchildren

People are now living much longer these days, and the average age to inherit has reached over 60 years old. 

It is likely that by the time your children reach the age of 60, they will not need their inheritance as much as your grandchildren or great grandchildren might. 

You may want to help those younger generations with university fees, house deposits, wedding funds etc. Having a Will with a trust included can help you to do just that! 

Disabled children

If you have a child (young or adult) that has additional needs or a disability, you can leave their inheritance to them via a Vulnerable Person’s Trust.  This keeps their inheritance out of their estate, so it is not taken into consideration when being assessed for means tested benefits. 

Having an inheritance might mean they no longer need the financial benefit, but quite often those benefits open up access to other services that they desperately need, and are not entitled to if they don’t claim that benefit. Leaving them the direct gift can cut them off from vital support. 

Having it in trust also means that someone (your chosen trustees) can manage the money for them, so if they are unable to manage their own financial affairs they can still have access to anything that they inherit from you. 

These are just a few of the reasons that you might want to consider writing your Will, and including some form of trust. This list is not exhaustive, but just a simple overview as to why you might need a trust. 

There is still a lot of confusion surrounding trusts and a general misunderstanding that you have to be wealthy to need or have one. Hopefully this article has helped to dispel some of those myths. 

If you would like to chat about your requirements, ask any questions or get some advice, please send me a message, or you can visit wellingboroughwills.com to find out more. 

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