Wills And Family

Usually some change in a person’s life prompts them to consider the necessity of creating an English or Welsh Last Will & Testament; perhaps, the arrival of a child, a separation from a spouse or civil partner, an irreparable family breakdown, their ill health or old age.  Whatever it is, it typically will spark thoughts about who they want to inherit or don’t want to inherit their worldly estate and possessions upon their death.  They may want to make suitable provisions for the well being of those they love and care about or perhaps cut people off from inheriting their wealth; either way it’s usually about the people they leave behind.  When there isn’t anyone close being left behind then they are likely thinking about donating to charitable causes or providing for a beloved pet or pets.

For the moment we will assume you have a rough scheme to guard your family and provide the best arrangements for them upon your demise.  To do this effectively it would be best to take the following actions (not necessarily in the order given):

1.  Think through what would happen once you’re gone.  What would those left behind have to sort out and deal with?  Place yourself in their shoes and ponder upon their situation.  What practical and financial issues need to be taken care of?

2.  Discuss with your loved ones what issues they can foresee having to deal with once you’re gone.      

Steps 1 and 2 will give you a good idea of what requirements are necessary and highlight any major problems that potentially exist.  This will indicate how well prepared you are presently to enable your family & loved ones to cope with the eventuality of your departure and what steps need to happen to be better prepared.

3.  Think for a moment if you passed away today what state would your finances be in?  Possibly a mess – how would this affect your family, since they are the ones who need to manage everything when you’re gone? 

Let’s begin to get the situation in some order. 

Briefly add up roughly (for now) what you are worth presently.  Remember to consider the value of all the property that you own (throw some lump numbers at it – this will be good enough for now), all the money you have, investments, debts, loans and credit card bills etc.  Evaluate anything else you can think of and add the balance to the total.  This should give you the final overall balance of your worth presently. 

Then add any money that will be payable to an inheritor/s upon your death and cost up any fees that will need to be paid out; most prominently the funeral expense.                               

Following the above three steps you will now have a better idea of what situation your leaving behind and a better idea how you could set up things so it would be easier for others upon your earthly departure.

Perhaps the above steps have made you aware that you’ve got intricate personal and finance dealings; which create complications and have caused you to get a list of numerous unanswered questions.  Then it’s likely you could be in need of professional help with your property, estate and your English or Welsh Last Will and Testament planning. 

If your total wealth is significant (inclusive of property outside England & Wales) it could attract inheritance tax which will then require you to seek the help of an accountant who specializes on the subject or do some further research on the subject yourself.  The least amount of inheritance tax paid the more your family will be better off; after all, you didn’t amass this wealth to benefit the tax man, you did it to make the best provision for yourself and your family… so make plans to keep it this way.

For others the situation is far simpler and the requirements are obvious.  Perhaps the above has given you the opportunity to tie up some loose ends.  Such as marrying up some of your possessions with your loved ones’ needs and wishes or made you aware that there is no coverage for your funeral costs.  In England and Wales a Last Will and Testament sanctions you to assign unique gifts to individual people in any manner you may choose to; thus, you can make a gift specific to each member of your family.  This way you can control what happens to your possessions by making sure the right sentimental gifts reach the right person or that a greedy snatch fest of your belongings by some doesn’t take place at the expense of others.  These are just a couple of the possibilities!

Whether your estate is on the complex side, simple side or somewhere in the middle you have a requirement when doing the best by your family to circumvent the numerous scenarios that your family may have to endure if you are departed.  So plan your property and estate goals accordingly.

Above we have looked at Welsh and English Last Will and Testaments and family from an upside point of view; all is well with the family and relative harmony ensues, however, this is not always the case.  Across England and Wales couples get separated or divorced.  Family feuds occur and bitterness can reign.  Families have spendthrift children or spouses/civil partners who can’t be trusted to look after your money once you’re gone.  For some this is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ when it comes to family complications and in such situations your thoughts turn to having a stronger sense of control over the wealth you leave behind and cutting off others in your Last Will and Testament. 

To negate the total annihilation of your wealth via spends thrift parties – in England & Wales setting up a trust or trusts via a Last Will and Testament would be a popular way to proceed.

Should you feel embittered towards someone and as such seek to cut them off in your Last Will and Testament then you need to be aware they may likely respond to this by leaving it and adding it towards their already existing hatred of you or out of spite retaliate.  If they choose the later then they may have the legal entitlement make a claim against your property and estate should you not leave them a sufficient provision within your Last Will and Testament.  Among those in England and Wales who may well contest your Last Will and Testament and make a claim against your estate would be a wife, husband, civil partner or your kids.  This list is not exhaustive; as in reality, anybody could make a claim against your estate if they feel they have some sort of legal entitlement; whether they would be successful, that is another matter.  Typically; if you have a number of people whom count on you for his or her maintenance and upkeep then in England and Wales you have a requirement to continue (as far as possible) to look after them via your Last Will and Testament.  Chopping out people from your wealth can be a tricky subject under English or Welsh law so it is both wise and prudent to seek appropriate legal advice from a solicitor when dealing with such matters.

SEE ALSO:

Sound & Unsound Mind
Protect Against Unsound Mind
Undue Influence
Choosing The Right Person To Be Executor.
Why Have Multiple Executors?
Appointing An Executor.
Rules Surrounding Guardianship
Selecting Your Guardian
Automatic Guardianship
Appointing A Guardian
Inheritance Tax
Parental Responsibility
Changing Guardianship
Money For Child And Guardian

 

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