Do you have children? If yes, have you written a will? Did you know that most parents haven’t? Whether your children are still in nappies, or they have flown the nest and have a family of their own, you’re never too old to sort this out. Writing a will is one of the most important things you will ever do, and it is so easy to make mistakes. It’s important to get it right by working with someone you can trust. From helping you appoint guardians and trustees, to completing the legal paperwork, we can make sure the right thing for you is out in place. Do something your family will be thankful for and speak to one of our team today about setting up a will and putting a legacy plan in place.You should always use a professional to write your will. A simple error can cost your family thousands in legal fees or even inheritance tax. Unfortunately, you will not be aware of an error until it is too late.
Essentially, Trusts are a means to manage assets (property, money, etc) for people. They can be set up for many reasons. It might be to control and protect family assets, or to pass on assets when you are no longer with us.There are different types of trusts and all have different financial implications, so it can be daunting and confusing trying to work out what type of Trust is best. We will work with you to understand your requirements and to find the best solution for you.
We are now living longer than ever before and consequently, the likelihood of us losing capacity at some point through dementia, illness or accident is far greater. It is often assumed that if we were unable to look after our own affairs those closest to us would simply take over and make decisions about our finances and healthcare. Sadly, without a Lasting Power ofAttorney (LPA) in place, the reality is considerably more complicated, and the burden placed on loved ones can be physically and emotionally devastating. An LPA is a legal document that lets you appoint one or more people to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf. Establishing an LPA can be quite time consuming and some people might find it a little overwhelming trying to set this up. Squiggle Consult are on hand to help guide you through the process, so you can have total peace of mind for the future. Like a Will, you could do this yourself, but if you get it wrong, it could lead to unnecessary costs and disputes. We would always recommend taking expert advice and using professional services.
Probate is the process of obtaining the legal rights to distribute the assets (the property, money and possessions) of a loved one’s estate. It can be very complicated and can take a long time. We understand it’s an uncomfortable subject to tackle, and in some cases can be quite emotional and stressful to deal with. Our probate services are tailored around you and we provide as much or as little help as you need in dealing with Probate issues.
In such an instance, any assets that were owned jointly, or were inherited by the survivor would typically be shared with their new partner. Any inheritance intended for the beneficiaries of the original married couple would be diluted, especially if the new partner has his or her own children, resulting in original beneficiaries being disinherited completely if the new partner outlives the original spouse.
In such a scenario, assets left to a beneficiary via a Will are highly likely to form part of the financial settlement with the beneficiary’s husband or wife if they were to become divorced. In fact, even whilst you are still living, the inheritance a beneficiary is to receive in the future can be taken into consideration and a portion handed over when it is received.
If, for example, you left assets via a Will to a beneficiary who had children and your son were to pass away whilst your grandchildren were still young, your son’s inheritance would typically pass to your daughter-in-law.
If your daughter-in-law were to remarry, those same inherited assets would normally be shared with her new partner. Your grandchildren’s inheritance would be diluted further if the new partner had their own children and if the daughter-in-law did not outlive her new husband, the grandchildren could be completely disinherited.
If you leave your assets to a beneficiary using just a Will, upon death the ownership of those assets transfers absolutely to whoever you have left them to but if the beneficiary is suffering from, or has suffered financial difficulty, their creditors could seize their inheritance.
If assets are inherited via a Will, they are classed as the beneficiaries’ capital. This could have a dramatic effect on any means tested state benefits and could ultimately lead to the complete loss of benefits that your heirs may rely on.
Strictly speaking, anyone can challenge your inheritance wishes and lay claim to part, or all your estate, but not all will be taken seriously. Typically, the grounds for making a challenge would be that someone exerted undue influence on you when making a Will.
However, under the ‘‘Provision for Family and Dependants Act 1975’ a person who has either been disinherited entirely or left only ‘unreasonable’ provision, can also make a challenge against a person’s estate for greater financial provision, typically during the probate process.
Typically, assets left to a beneficiary will have to go through the process of ‘Probate’ before your heirs will receive them. Probate is the legal process of transferring ownership from the deceased to the beneficiary via the Executor. It is a fairly bureaucratic process and usually takes several months to complete.
In addition, in today’s complex world, the complexity of many people’s affairs it is often the case that a Solicitor or legal professional will need to be engaged to complete Probate and it would be reasonable to expect their fees to be in the region of 2% or more of the Estate value, including any property such as the family home. Even if the probate process is completed by a relative, and professional fees are avoided, the government is now imposing an increased mandatory fee on all estate above the £50,000 mark so at some point most people estate will be diluted by the probate process.
Furthermore, beneficiaries cannot access their inheritance until Estate Administration has been completed and if necessary, a Grant of Probate has been acquired. However, they may have to pay some or all of certain bills such as the probate fees and funeral costs to name but two.
It is not unusual for assets to create an Inheritance Tax liability more than once. Assets that exceed the Inheritance Tax threshold will be subject to taxation on the death of the owner. However, once the assets have been inherited, they will form part of the beneficiary’s estate and if the value of the beneficiary’s estate, with the addition of their inheritance, exceeds the Inheritance Tax threshold, the inherited wealth could be subject to Inheritance Tax even if your is not.
We are now living longer than ever before and consequently, the likelihood of us losing capacity at some point whether through dementia, illness or accident is far more prevalent. It is often assumed that if we were unable to look after our own affairs those closest to us would simply take over and make decisions about our finances and health care.Sadly, without LPAs in place, the reality is considerably more complicated and the burden placed on loved ones can be physically and emotionally devastating.If we are considered to have lost capacity, Social Services will consider us to be vulnerable and they have a duty to inform financial institutions. During our meeting, you expressed concerns about the state making decisions about your finances specifically to do with:
Medical & Welfare decisions
Without LPAs in place, those closest to you do not have the right to make decisions about your medical treatment and welfare, including whether you need long term residential care, where that should be and what sort of care is most appropriate for you.
Financial affairs decisions
If you are considered to have lost capacity and don’t have an LPA, you and those closest to you would not be able to gain access, take action or make decisions in relation to any of your financial matters including any jointly held bank accounts and your bank accounts would be handled by a court official rather than someone a loved one.
Without Lasting Powers of Attorney in Place
With only one or neither of the Lasting Powers of Attorney in place certain critical decisions would be controlled by the state if you were to lose capacity to make your own decisions through illness or accident, but these can always be put in place at a later date when you feel the time is right.