By taking the time now to prepare a will to protect your assets for the future, you are taking control of your personal and financial circumstances whatever may come. This will minimise the stress and complications for your family and friends in the event of your death.
In order to help you safeguard your assets and help you with your Estate Planning Solutions, we have compiled a list of the most common mistakes made in wills and estate planning.
1.Not Making A Will
A Will is a legal document that tells people what is to happen to your assets when you pass away. Making a Will is essential if you want to make sure your belongings go to those whom you decide.
If you die without having written a Will (intestate) then everything you own, including all investments and savings, will be distributed by means specified by law.
If your Will includes a Trust, then once your will has been executed, the Trustees will ‘manage’ or take care of the Trust property for however long the Trust lasts. Trustees have a legal duty to act in the beneficiaries’ best interests at all times, meaning it is always a good idea to consult with a will writing service when making decisions regarding this matter.
Letting us assist you write your Will is the best way to ensure peace of mind for both you and those you leave behind. By using our will writing service:
- You Are Protected – Solicitors are regulated which means if any issues arise you can make a complaint.
- Your Will Is Legally Binding – Simple but common problems such as using unsuitable witnesses can invalidate your Will. Small mistakes have big consequences.
- Complicated Tasks Are Taken Care Of – Inheritance Tax laws and trusts are complicated and include terminology and regulations which solicitors are familiar with. This takes the responsibility away from you and puts it into the hands of a professional.
- Your Will Is In Safekeeping – We are able to safeguard the original will for you.
2.Forgetting To Update A Will
Estate planning is an ongoing process, especially when it comes to your Will. When you die the Will is going to be the document that governs how your estate is distributed, even if it does not reflect current situations and relationships. This is why it is crucial to ensure that the directions in your Will are current.
Therefore it is important to review your Will when a major life event occurs, such as marriage, divorce, separation, the birth of a child, the death of a relative or a change in your financial situation. These events might have an impact both on your intentions for the distribution of your estate and even the validity of your current Will.
To change your Will, you cannot simply write changes on an existing Will. Such alterations are assumed to have been made after the Will was executed and so they do not form part of the original legally valid Will.
The only way a Will can be legally changed is by:
- making a codicil to the existing Will, or
- making an entirely new Will.
If you have used our will writing service, you can contact us at any time to discuss making changes.
If you are considering Estate Planning solutions and a Will writing service but are unsure where to start, our advisors are here to offer free Will writing advice. Contact us today for a no obligation consultation.
3. Relying On Joint Ownership Of Assets
If your only assets are a jointly owned property then you might assume that the joint ownership will ensure that it passes directly to the person you want to inherit it when you die.
However, it is not always that simple. For example, if you own a property as tenants in common there is no right of survivorship so the property will go to whoever you name in your Will as the beneficiary.
If you don’t have a Will it will pass to the first on the list on the intestacy rules and this might not be the person you expect. This can create issues for the surviving partner, for example if you are currently cohabiting and unmarried (and not in a civil partnership), or in a second (or subsequent marriage), your share of the property could pass to living parents, as opposed to your partner. The solution is wills and estate planning.
4. Unreliable Trustees
Choosing a trustee of your estate is a very big responsibility; it is not a role to be taken on lightly. It can involve a lot of paperwork and handling large sums of money.
Make sure that when you appoint your chosen trustee, you are picking someone who can cope with the emotional strain and the responsibility of carrying out your wishes.
Also, ensure that you include a provision in your Will that allows for the trustee to be removed if needed.
5. Forgetting To Include Digital Assets
If you want to avoid estate planning mistakes then don’t forget to include your digital assets in your estate planning solutions. Property today includes the virtual, from bitcoin through to banking app passwords. Make sure that your plans for the future include instructions on how these should be dealt with.
Social media accounts are also becoming career paths for many, whether they promote their own brand or others and are proving to be valuable sources of income. With this in mind, it’s important to take your own digital assets into account when writing a will.
Through wills and estate planning you can make arrangements to transfer passwords for online banking apps, as well as the transfer of important digital documents that you may be storing online.
We can also advise you on how to arrange what to do with any social media accounts you may own.
All 5 of the points above are some of the most common mistakes made by people making wills and estate planning. By taking steps to avoid them, you will be able to leave clear instructions which should see your family in good hands after your death.
We here at Family Matters pride ourselves on our will writing and estate planning services, offering a sensitive and professional service to ensure your wishes are respected after you have passed away.