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Why You Need An Up-To-Date Will
The law allows you to have a say in what happens to your assets in the event of death. If you don't have a Will, you don't get to decide who benefits from your estate when the time comes. This makes it very important to take a few moments to spell out your wishes.
Doing this can save your loved ones from years of misery and heartache trying to get an equitable distribution of your assets. Death is inevitable and an unforeseen occurrence. Thus, creating a wealth distribution plan gives you control regardless of what happens.
What happens if you don't have a Will?
If you die without a Will, the law will distribute your wealth. This means that the power to decide on how your wealth is distributed is taken away from you. It could mean that neither your children or partner will automatically inherit your possessions after your death. It can cause a lot of grief and misery.
It can also cause a lot of waiting to resolve or settle the estate. Some estates take years to resolve disputes, settle claims, and finally distribute inheritances. You don't want to subject your loved ones to the state's intestacy laws and let the probate court have the final say about your hard-earned wealth.
Some of the factors to consider if you die intestate are:
* Your partner will not be entitled to an inheritance if you're not married or in a civil partnership.
* If you are married, your children might not inherit anything. Except in Scotland, most or all of your estate might go to your spouse. If your partner remarries after your death, your spouse's legal partner (not your children) will inherit your possessions. The same also applies if you are separated but not divorced.
* Your children or grand children's legal entitlement will depend on where you live in the UK.
* Your estate's inheritance tax might be high. It will not be the case if you have a Will or Trust arrangement.
* Bona vacantia will apply. This outcome passes your estate to the state if you die without any living close relatives.
How to forestall these and similar outcomes
The law also works in your favour. Suppose you have children under the age of 18. In that case, you can nominate a guardian to be legally responsible in the event of unexpected death.
If you have a Will, ensure that it is up to date. You life situation may have changed. You may have had a newborn child or the Will may no longer reflect your wishes. Also, conditions and circumstances may currently invalidate the Will.
Creating a Will and keeping it up-to-date will go a long way to protect your wealth and ensure distribution according to your wishes. Also, you want to make your Will tax efficient. Certain tax benefits accrue when you set up your Will correctly.
Paying for care
Most people don't know that they may be responsible for the cost of their long term care.
If your income does not cover your care fees, your assets may be affected. People with assets totalling £23,250 must pay 100% of their care fees. This can affect your loved ones' inheritance.
Proper estate planning and taking the necessary precautions can protect your wealth against huge losses and ensure your desired distribution.