2016 will long be remembered as a year which saw a number of historically significant events take place, many of which will have long lasting implications both at home and abroad. While we will have to wait and see the full consequences of Brexit and the US Presidential race, there may also have been changes to your life which could immediately impact on the validity of your Will and any other estate planning documents that you have already created.
You should review your Will regularly to make sure it still reflects your wishes, such as adding or removing beneficiaries if you change your mind regarding who you wish to inherit your estate. You will also need to update your Will if you get married, enter a civil-partnership or get divorced as a Will is automatically cancelled by these events.
If you haven’t already written a Will, then you’re not alone; it is estimated that two-thirds of the British public haven’t prepared one. However, what you might not realise is that without one you have no say in what happens to your estate when you die.
Regardless of your age or health, it is important to plan ahead particularly if you own a property or have savings, investments, insurance policies or own a business. There are also numerous other benefits, from ensuring you leave an inheritance to family and friends, to potentially reducing the amount of Inheritance Tax that may be payable on your estate.
If you die without having made a Will, the rules of intestacy apply to your estate. These legal regulations will divide your estate in a pre-determined way and, regardless of whether you are married, in a civil-partnership or have step-children, could result in your assets being distributed to family members that you would not have chosen to inherit from your estate.
Tom Curran, Chief Executive of estate administration specialist Kings Court Trust said: “A lot can change within a year and the start of 2017 provides a perfect opportunity to review your estate planning documents or create new ones.
We would always advise members of the public to have their Will written by an experienced professional. By ensuring that your Will is clearly and professionally written, your estate can be dealt with in line with your wishes and as smoothly as possible. Ensuring that your wishes are clearly articulated reduces the likelihood of disagreements between beneficiaries which can delay the distribution of the estate and cause great stress to the family members at an already difficult time.”
For more information on Kings Court Trust’s estate administration service, visit www.kctrust.co.uk.