A crucial element of planning for an individual is the preparation of a Will, properly drafted to ensure that the assets owned at death are distributed among his family and dependents and other beneficiaries in a tax-efficient manner.
A Will needs to be correctly drafted and regularly reviewed. The importance of this is two-fold. Firstly, it ensures that assets pass exactly as intended. If there is no Will, then statutory provisions, commonly known as the Intestacy Rules, will apply. This may result in assets being passed to unintended beneficiaries. Conversely, intended beneficiaries may not inherit – unmarried couples are especially vulnerable. Additionally, children would be entitled to inherit at age 18 years, often considered too young by many parents. In some cases, the absence of a Will may result in unnecessary Inheritance Tax becoming payable.
Secondly, the existence of a Will simplifies the administration of the estate, thereby saving time and expense. It also enables a person to choose suitable competent executors to deal with their affairs following death. Importantly, parents of minor children can determine their choice of Guardians, rather than allowing a Court to decide who should be appointed.
No one likes to think about their own mortality, but making a Will ensures your family won’t have to deal with the consequences of you not leaving clear instructions and ensures that they won’t have to spend months sorting out a complicated financial and legal situation when you die.