Is your Will a waste of money?

by Adam Marlow

Is your Will a waste of money?

We’re interested in the health of your entire financial planning not just your business accounts and taxes

This is the reason why we are always looking for ways to help you more.  

 

In the past twelve months, we have seen a large increase in the number of clients wanting to address their estate planning and the one thing we really need to tell you about is a very common theme we’re finding. The reoccurring theme is the fact that most client’s Wills are very poorly drafted in respect of ensuring their wealth passes to their intended recipients.

Most clients we speak with are very insistent that they ultimately want their children (or grandchildren) to benefit from their estate. They also want the provision their spouse is provided for, I guess you probably are the same?  

What people don’t always realise, is that unless they have carefully instructed their Will writer, this goal may not be actually achieved. I’ll try and demonstrate this simply as follows: 

This is what’s commonly put in place… 

  • Husband wills everything to his wife upon first death (very much the norm) or vice versa…
  • All assets pass to the survivor upon death!
  • Then the survivor remarries and hey presto… 
  • ‘All assets’ become joint with new spouse…
  • Your assets are now potentially diluted for your children by the new spouses existing children/family!

It could get worse: 

If your survivor predeceases their new spouse, all the asset could now transfer to the new spouses family. Meaning your children’s Inheritance is now down to the whim of the new spouse. 

If you know you aren’t at risk of the above then that’s great, however, if you fear you are running this kind of risk, isn’t it time to address this now rather than putting it off (perpetually) - yes we all do it! 

Your grandchildren could end up ‘losing’ their inheritance in a similar series of events to the above.  

Making the right precautions in your Will could avoid your wealth being lost out of your bloodline, to, for example, a son-in-law or daughter-in-law. 

The other major oversight we see is where you have shares in your limited company you may believe that they will pass to your beneficiaries in accordance with your wishes.  

As with many aspects of the law, this will not always be the case.

It’s important to check the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the company to see what would actually happen to shares on death.  

Many require that the first step taken is the offer of the shares to the remaining shareholders and only if they refuse to purchase them can they be sold or passed on to someone else. A shareholders agreement should be put in place to make sure your wishes are carried out but this needs to be done now, not at the last minute, because who knows when that will be! 

As I hope you would have come to expect, we can help you work your way through the decisions required to arrive at a proper legacy plan.  Your legacy plan isn't just a case of getting your will in place, no you need to consider several other items that will protect your assets and your family such as…

  1. Powers of Attorney—who will look after your best interests if you are ill or incapacitated? 
  2. Asset Protection Trust—do you need to safeguard assets from your beneficiaries, potential creditors or the taxman?
  3. Inheritance Tax—where do you stand now and what will this look like in 20 years time? It only takes a decent home and some savings to use up your nil rate band and you could already be looking at a loss of 40% of the excess!

So to help you address these issues rather than suffer in apathy we are offering a free Will and Shareholders agreement review service for our clients and their family and friends.  

Get in touch if you want help to get this part of your financial planning sorted once and for all (well at least until next year as you should review your Will on an annual basis!)  

Investing in good advice now could save your family a lot of heartache at a time when they are least equipped to deal with it. A cheap will is exactly that, cheap! As a minimum this year promise yourself to address writing your  Will or reviewing your existing will as there’s a good chance that needs updating.

For more information or to boook an appointment please give us a call on 01530 833474 or email info@marlow-proactive.co.uk

 

We are part of the Xeinadin Group. The firm of the future!