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Written by Jak Antony 20/07/2020

elephant in living room

Let's address the elephant in the room, Wills. Having a discussion with your partner and family about a Will is important because losing someone, especially a spouse or partner, can have a huge impact on your finances for months or even years if you’re not prepared.

Throughout your life, you accumulate assets, savings and pensions that you may want to pass down to your loved ones or charities close to your heart. Many people don’t know the importance of a Will before it’s too late and how factors such as Inheritance Tax (IHT) make this process even more difficult to grasp. Here are a few points to help with getting your head around the importance of having your Will.

Making sure you have the correct Executors and Guardians:

Executors are the people you choose to be responsible for making sure the wishes in your Will are carried out. If you have children under the age of 18 (16 in Scotland), you can use your Will to appoint guardians for them.

Pass on Property you own

If you own a home or a buy to let property, you can leave it in your Will to whoever you like.

Leave gifts to people

Many people like to pass on items they own of sentimental value. If you have a Will, you can leave specific items to people you’d like to inherit them. You can also say who should inherit if any of the people you leave money or gifts to die before you.

Provide for stepchildren and unmarried partners

Unmarried partners and stepchildren won’t automatically inherit from you. Instead, they would have to go to court to make a claim, which can be both emotionally and financially costly. So, if you would like to pass anything on to them, it’s important you put this in your Will.

What should happen to your pets?

You can leave your pet to someone under your Will and you can include instructions on how they should be cared for in a letter of wishes. You may also want to leave the person you choose some money to help cover the costs of caring for your pet. Alternatively, there are animal charities that will care for and try to re-home your pet.

Leave instructions about your online accounts

In this day and age, everything is done online. It’s important to think about what should happen to your online accounts, from emails and photographs to online bank accounts. This information should definitely be passed on to avoid your loved ones from not being able to access your documents or any required information. However, this should be a side note in your will as a will could potentially become a public document when you pass on.

Leave money to charity

You can leave a cash sum, particular item or a share of everything you own to a charity. This has potential IHT benefits and should certainly be looked at when creating/editing your Will.

Pass on your business and any foreign assets

This can get complicated and it’s important to get legal or professional assistance when adding this type of information into a Will. We can certainly assist with this.

Minimise the Inheritance Tax Bill

This is where we can really help you. If your estate is large enough to worry about IHT. There are many things to factor in so contact us for advice.

Your pension and your Will

You cannot leave someone your pension in your Will. Instead, you need to make sure you’ve taken the right steps to ensure your pension(s) go to the people you want them to. There are many things to consider when it comes to passing on your pension. We can provide you with the best possible outcome for your individual circumstance.

Adding a letter of wishes

This document is not legally binding and does not have to be formally written by an expert. Essentially, it’s a note that sits alongside your Will and provides guidance to your executors. One of the benefits of writing one is that you can update and change it without affecting your will.

If you have any questions about Wills & Estate planning and would like to find out more, get in touch with Jak:

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