Nicola Brant recently wrote a piece for The Resident, highlighting the importance of drafting a will and keeping it updated.
January is a time to plan and be organised for the year ahead. One thing that often gets over looked, however, is estate planning. Many spend a great deal of time and effort accumulating wealth, but neglect to make a plan for how to pass that wealth on when the time comes. While it might not be something that people are keen to dwell on, in reality you are never too young to think about what will happen to your loved ones – especially if you have children – your business interests and your general assets when you pass away.
Your will is without doubt one of the most important documents you will ever sign, and many people do not realise that if they die without having made a will, strict intestacy rules apply, which may mean your assets do not pass on as you may wish.
In addition, especially for those who own property in areas such as London, real consideration needs to be given to aspects such as your potential exposure to Inheritance Tax (IHT).
If you do not yet have a will in place, the key elements to consider when estate planning include:
- Deciding who to leave your assets to
- Providing for children, especially in terms of appointing guardians and whether to hold assets in trust for them
- Making gifts of cash or personal possessions, as well as gifting to charity
- Determining all of your assets and liabilities i.e. property, bank accounts, stocks and shares, pensions and life insurance, digital assets, mortgages and other debts
- International assets and the succession rules in the jurisdictions they are situated in
- Business interests and shareholdings
- Appointing executors
- Wishes for your funeral
- Taking advice around IHT and lifetime gifts
- Taking advice around setting up Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) in case you physically or mentally can’t enact or make decisions
For those who already have a will in place, it is sensible to review it on a regular basis, and especially in light of any of the following:
- Marriage or civil partnership – getting married or entering into a civil partnership will revoke any will you have in place already, unless the will makes specific provision for the marriage
- Changes to executors
- Changes to beneficiaries – this is especially true if you make a will and subsequently have children
- Acquiring or selling property or assets (including an inheritance)
We have considerable experience through generations, assisting clients with their tax and estate planning. Ensuring protection of family wealth and passing it on to the next generation.
This article first appeared in The Resident https://www.theresident.co.uk/lifestyle-london/estate-planning-advice-from-top-solicitors/