One important tax consideration could be inheritance tax (which is a tax on a deceased’s estate) which can be avoided in full with extremely careful tax planning. The other very important consideration prior to death is ensuring that you have a valid will. Without one, this could cause more headache in a time of stress and mourning.
Before we get into why having a valid will at death is a good thing, it is important to understand what a will actually is:
A Will is a legally binding document that outlines how your assets (also known as your estate) will be distributed upon your death. Within a written will, you can also appoint the relevant individuals who will be responsible for administering your estate.
So now you know what a will is, but what actually makes it a Valid Will.
- The will must be in writing.
- It must be signed by you and two other witnesses (the two witnesses must sign the will in your presence and be 18 or over).
- You must have the mental capacity to make the will and understand the effect it will have.
- You must have made this will voluntarily and without pressure from anyone else.
- You must be 18 or older.
With all the above it is hoped that if you are writing a will, this will be done correctly and will be a valid will on death. However, in some circumstances, a will may be invalid or become invalid and this could have some serious negative consequences. Some of these will included:
- Your Estate will not be distributed amongst your beneficiaries in the way that you would have wished for. This is because you will have died intestate and specific set of rules will determine how your money and possessions are distributed.
- There may be a potential for conflicts of interest between the beneficiaries of your Estate.
- The time required to finalise a deceased’s Estate will be significantly more.
- It can be burdensome on those closest to you in a time of stress and grief.
- If you are unmarried, then without a written will, then the death of one partner may create some serious financial problems for the other partner.
We know it isn’t a pleasant thing to think about, but unfortunately (just like taxes) death and preparing well for death should be high up in everybody’s priority list. This is because it will save a lot of hassle and pain for your friends and family in future years.
If you would like more information about how Wisteria’s dedicated probate team can assist you, then please do not hesitate to contact one of our team members on 020 8429 9245 or email [email protected]