With the turn of the year comes the focus on making New Years resolutions. David White and Ross Brown provide their top 3 reasons why making a Will should be one of your New Years Resolutions.
I hope you and your loved ones had a lovely holiday this season and have a wonderful 2019.
This Christmas, I found myself stuck in the middle of Christmas dinner with 12 family members all exhausting my knowledge of the law of what would happen in the event that each of them died. These were all very intelligent people, with several degrees among them, and yet, they all shared three things in common – none of them knew the answer for certain, none of them had a Will in place and all of them expected the law to have made the right decision for them.
However, unfortunately, the law does not always have everything solved. The law especially does not know what each individual’s personal circumstances are or how each individual would like their estate to be divided on their death. So the law, with its very best efforts, makes certain assumptions and takes a decent punt to get it right. But, it is important to remember, that it quite often doesn’t get it right. This is where your Will comes in.
Your Will has the unique power of trumping the default legal position of how your assets should be managed once you die and only you have the power to write your own Will.
So why should your Will be on that list of New Year resolutions for 2019? Here’s the top 3 reasons:-
1. The Uncertainty of Intestacy
Without a Will, your estate is deemed to be ‘intestate’ when you die. This means that nobody has been appointed to manage your affairs on your behalf and the law must decide who shall inherit your estate. This is obviously unsatisfactory for many reasons and will cause additional costs and delays to your estate in order to resolve. However, I find that the most important is that you have lost control of your own cherished assets. Any wealth or items of sentimental value are given away in terms of how the law thinks they ought to be, rather than your own preferences. This can be both upsetting and infuriating for family members, depending on the circumstances.
2. A Will can have other functions
Although many people do not realise, a Will can include various mechanisms which can reduce the amount of inheritance tax your estate is obliged to pay on your death. Why does that make a difference? Well, currently, inheritance tax is due at (an enormous) 40%, so any tax-planning which you can place within your Will can make a huge difference. This means that more of your assets remain for those you choose to inherit.
3. BTO makes it easier than joining the gym.
Discussions about your Will can be a daunting task and it is understandable that you might want to put these off indefinitely. However, BTO has a fantastic team with over 180 years of experience among them. They are used to dealing with all manner of complex family situations and, collectively, they are always able to find a solution which suits each client. At BTO, we will take you through the process at your own pace and ensure that you have considered all aspects which may affect you so that your Will is as robust and personalised as you need it to be.
We make new year resolutions to accomplish things in our lives that we know we want to do in order to make the future better for ourselves, friends and family. Although you may be waiting for the ‘perfect moment’, there is no right time to draft a Will. So, whilst you may have the best intentions with that new gym membership, make sure you do something with a meaningful and lasting impact which you can feel just as satisfied with and which can make the world of difference to loved ones, before something happens which takes that ability from you.