Inheritance is something of a taboo subject for the majority of us, leaving us feeling uncomfortable when faced with talking about making a Will.
A survey by Aviva revealed that 63 per cent of us have yet to discuss the subject with our families, despite four out of 10 expecting to receive money when someone dies.
And it is particularly the retiree age group that should be encouraged to talk openly with their families about their plans and dreams for the future, says Aviva retirement director Clive Bolton.
Despite being a touchy subject, discussing Wills and who will be dealing with your assets, settling your outstanding liabilities and distributing the balance of your estate in accordance with your Will (Probate) can help avoid possible complications when you pass away.
It is important to realise that if you do not have a legally binding Will, your inheritance may be passed on in a way in which you don’t desire.
If you have not prepared a Will, Intestacy Rules will apply instead, which aside from being more complex and expensive administration procedure, provide that:
- Your spouse or civil partner may only be entitled to part of your estate;
- Your children or grandchildren will inherit your assets at age 18, which you may feel is too young; and
- Only blood relatives and your spouse or civil partner can benefit. Your in-laws, friends and unmarried partner (whether having lived with you for many years or not) will NOT inherit your estate.
So why make a Will?
Certainty – in your Will you can choose who you want to deal with Probate, whether you want to give certain amounts or items to a family member, friend, charity or nothing at all whilst understanding how this will legally affect your estate – it’s your choice.
A Will can range from very simple to extremely complex – the advantage in all cases is that it works in accordance with your wishes.
Many Oratto lawyers offer a no obligation first meeting and also a free service to store your Will in a strong room.
The importance of being prepared
How many people make it their goal in life to work hard, buy a house, pay off their mortgage and to move into a retirement home only to have to sell their house to pay for care? Very few! However, last year, 45,000 people sold their homes to pay for care.
Care home fees can range from £40,000-£50,000 per year, so it’s easy to see how the value of a house can be eroded. Only when assets reduce to £23,250 will a Local Authority contribute to fees and an individual will continue paying for their care until their assets drop to £14,250. Careful planning can ensure that it is possible to work hard, pay off your mortgage and pass your hard earned assets to your children.
This is a situation that can affect anyone – with estimates that one in four people will live until 100, it’s a growing problem which can be tackled by planning early. The best method for a couple involves making new Wills. Whilst the prospect of making a new Will may seem dull, a Will can make a huge difference and can do so much more than it says on the tin!
Most simple Wills leave all assets to the spouse and then to the children on the second person’s death. But these Wills miss a huge opportunity. Planning involves a two stage process; firstly looking at how your assets are currently owned and, secondly, making a new Wills in order to ensure that the survivor is completely safeguarded. Once both steps are carried out, you gain the reassurance of knowing that you will not have worked all your life only to see your hard earned assets disappear.