Probate and Will, Trust & Estate Disputes

Publish date

16 April 2023

Top tips for creating and updating your will

How many times have you said, “I must get a will sorted, or even update my will”. Here are some things to focus your mind:-

Update or make a will

Did you know the Government has written a will for you? There are statutory guidelines in place which specify where your assets go if you do not have a will and it may see your assets pass to beneficiaries you would not want. If you are married, do not assume your spouse or civil partner will automatically inherit your whole estate – they may not.

Do you have children? If so, you have a duty as a parent to appoint a guardian who is responsible for taking care of your children if neither of their parents is alive. If you do not appoint a guardian in your will, your family may have to apply to the Court so that it can make that decision.

Have your circumstances changed since your last will? This includes getting married, or separated, having children, buying a property with a partner or being a beneficiary of an estate yourself. These are always a good opportunity to review your will but if your will is now a few years old, it’s also worth revisiting it.

Tax Planning

It is important in conjunction with your will to check that your intentions for your estate are tax efficient. The Tax Planning team offer advice on lifetime planning and will planning, both of which could save your family unnecessary tax.

In addition, the new tax year will start on 6 April. Have you reviewed your finances to make sure you are using all of the allowances available for this tax year before then?

Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs)

Many of us think LPAs are only for the elderly – think again.

There are two types of LPAs: one which allows someone to deal with your property and finances; and one which allows someone to make decisions about your health and welfare, should you be unable to make those decisions yourself. They were invaluable during the pandemic but can be relevant at any time.

If you do not have LPAs in place, again, your family are faced with a Court application to get the necessary authority to make those important decisions. If you have any assets, be it properties or bank accounts, you should have an LPA for property and finances.

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