Invest Southwest Will Management

News & Reviews

 

Dementia Friends

Last Thursday the team at Will Management Services attended a seminar presented by Roger Knight - A Dementia Friend champion. It was a very informative and moving seminar which enlightened us all.

Each of us have completed an action mailer which we have pledged to carry out, these varied from getting in touch with and staying in touch with someone we know living with dementia, volunteering for an organisation that helps people with dementia and wearing our badges and telling five friends about the Dementia Friends initiative.

You can find out more information, support and advice about dementia:

For any enquiries about Dementia Friends go to http://dementia friends.org.uk, email dementiafriends@alzheimers.org.uk or call 0845 306 0898

 


Estate Administration

As authorised representatives of Kings Court Trust we are able to offer you the additional service of Probate/Estate Administration.

Kings Court Trust (KCT) are specialists in this area which is why we have chosen them to assist you to deal with the estate of a loved one.

It can be a very daunting prospect after losing someone you love to then realise the amount of legal paperwork that needs to be completed.

KCT take care of estate administration. Quickly and completely. There is a family like yours behind every single estate that they deal with, that’s why they handle each estate with the upmost care.

So what is Estate Administration?

Probate has become the term commonly associated with handling an individual’s estate after they’ve died but it is just one component of administering an estate. Estate administration is so much more. It’s the process of sorting out a deceased person’s legal and tax affairs. Everything from bank accounts, belongings and property to debts, pensions and Inheritance Tax.

Why not take a look at their website: http://kctrust.co.uk


Personal Chattels

Most of us collect a lot of ‘stuff’ over the course of our lives. Some valuable in monetary terms, and some valuable from a sentimental perspective. Many of these personal possessions fall under the definition of ‘personal chattels’.

The definition personal chattels broadly cover’s all tangible moveable property other than that property used solely or mainly for business purposes or held as an investment.

When it comes to dealing with personal chattels in Will there are a few options available:

  1. They could be left to the residue to be distributed but this could cause disputes between family members. Disputes about the distribution of personal chattels can often turn bitter, due to the sentimental value attached to them.

  2. The chattels could be gifted specifically in the Will, but it may be impractical to make a long list of chattels and their recipients.

  3. You could leave all the chattels to a specific person, usually the executor, with a request that they distribute the chattels according to a separate letter of wishes left with the Will.

The third option is the most flexible as it allows you to keep the list up to date. The gifts and beneficiaries can evolve as your possessions and wishes change or as your family grows.

The letter of wishes is not legally binding but does ensure that your wishes are known and allow your executor/s to carry out your wishes.


Family Pets

Many pet owners ask us how they can ensure continuing care for their pets is in place after their death, they do not realise that a family pet can be gifted specifically through a clause in their Will.

They should consider who they wish to look after their animals and whether they ought to make financial provision for the ongoing care and upkeep of the animal.

As we all know the upkeep of an animal can be expensive, this can range from the cost of feeding and grooming up to expensive vet bills. This can be off-putting for a potential beneficiary so we always advise consideration of an appropriate gift of money to the beneficiary conditional upon them taking on the care of the animal

There is also a special type of trust for the upkeep of the animal. This is known as a ‘trust of imperfect obligation’ as the object of the trust (family pet) cannot enforce it. This type of trust will only last for up to 21 years. This period is usually sufficient to cover the lives of most common household pets.

Whatever option they choose, we always encourage our clients to write a letter of wishes to provide their beneficiary with details on how their pets should be cared for.

If there is no one suitable to take on the care of the animals, then we advise they should consider leaving the animals to the care of a charity instead. The RSPCA run a ‘home for life’ scheme that a person may register their animals with during lifetime. The executors would then notify the RSPCA of the owner’s death, and the charity will aim to suitably rehome the animal. This gives the owner the peace of mind that their animals will be cared for after their death.


Wills and protecting against third parties

Most people believe that their existing Will provides protection for their children’s inheritance, in reality though this is rare. It’s an important part of Will and Estate Planning that is too often overlooked.

You would assume that leaving everything to your children would then pass down to your grandchildren, quite often things can happen to your children (such as divorce, bankruptcy etc) meaning that they never actually get to inherit, nor do your grandchildren.

Ensure that you have safeguarded your legacy – discuss these matters with us now, that way you can ensure that your loved ones are taken care of after you have gone.

Our advice is FREE, give us a call.


Trustees

I am commonly asked how many trustees should be appointed as well as just who it is appropriate to appoint.

The quantity of Trustees appointed depends on whether Land is going to be held in the Trust. If it does then you will require at least two trustees, this is because two trustees are needed to give valid receipt for capital monies arising under a trust (sale proceeds). Where the trust holds land there may be a maximum of four trustees.

If the trust does not hold land, there is no restriction on the number of trustees. It is advisable however to have between two and four trustees so that the trust may later acquire land.

It is also best to avoid having a sole trustee to avoid delays in administration if the sole trustee dies or becomes unable to act.

Your trustees should be people that you 'trust' be that a family member, family friend or professional. They are after all being trusted to look after your assets in the best interests of your chosen beneficiaries.


Estate Planning

Failure to act effectively and properly plan how your estate is to be distributed when you die can be as detrimental as not having a Will in place at all!


BREAKING NEWS

Power of Attorney refund scheme launch.

A refund scheme for those who have been overcharged for their power of attorney fees has been launched today.

In an announcement made by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), the refunds are being offered to those who may have been charged more than was necessary when they applied to register for powers of attorney between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017.

Plans to repay those who were overcharged were originally launched last July.

According to the MoJ, the process to register for Enduring Powers of Attorney and Lasting Power of Attorney became more efficient during this period and as a result, operating costs for the Office of the Public Guardian came down.

However, the fee charged for the application did not reduce in line with this. The fee was subsequently lowered by the MoJ, a change which came into effect 1 April 2017.

Now, they have launched a refund scheme for those who paid the higher fee during the qualifying period.

Claims for full and partial refunds can be made by the donor or their attorney via an online service, with only one form needing to be completed for each.

For those who believe they are eligible, claims can be made here: www.claim-power-of-attorney-refund.service.gov.uk


Questions you should ask.

One of the most difficult but vital conversations to have with your parents is about their future finances.

Your parents will fear ‘losing control’ but you don’t need to examine it down to the last penny but you do need to cover basic points to make sure there are no nasty surprises ahead for them or you!

These are the basic eight questions you should be asking:

Do you have a record of your investments, property and important documents?

One of the biggest estate planning mistakes that parents can make is simply not telling their children where their assets are. Place everything into one place or folder and list the contents. It should contain a list of their bank, pension and investment accounts and account numbers.

Do you have a financial plan and when was it last reviewed?

Increased life expectancy means a 65yr old woman can, on average, expect to live until she is 90, so it is important to understand the sources of income your parents are relying on to support their income. Do you know who their financial adviser is or how to contact them?

Have you made a Will and is there anything out of the ordinary we should be aware of?

Make sure that your parents have an up-to-date Will. If it is more than three years old, it is worth suggesting they review it to make sure their wishes are reflected and that it is tax efficient. Ask if there is anything specific which has been gifted or something that they may wish to discuss now.

In addition, it is worth checking that they have updated the beneficiaries of their life insurance policies or pensions. These are legally binding documents that may override bequests made in their Will.

Have you considered a lasting power of attorney?

A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document in which someone nominates a trusted friend or relative to look after their affairs in the event that they are unable to do so themselves.

Many people delay this process but the reality is that the best time to put an LPA in place is long before you think you might need it.

When was the last time you looked at your pension nomination forms?

Since most pension funds are held outside your estate and therefore not covered by your Will it’s essential that your parents have completed an ‘expression of wish’ form for all of their pension schemes.

If you can no longer take care of yourself, when and where would you consider moving?

Exploring whether your parents have thought about what they’ll do when they can no longer maintain a big garden or climb stairs is a difficult question to ask at the best of times, who wants to be reminded of their mortality?

In the event of an illness or worse you’ll need to address whether they want to stay in their own home or move nearer to you or a sibling. Would they want in-home care? Would they prefer moving to an assisted living facility, and if so, which one?

Have you done an inventory of the items on your home?

This can be very helpful in establishing what your parents have and what each item is worth.

From the parent’s point of view, it may help to clarify what they have and how they would to divide up their possessions. From the children’s point of view, it enables them to indicate to their parents any items they are especially interested in and agree between them a division which the parents could then include in a revised Will.

How do you like to receive financial information?

Children, especially the millennial generation who were brought up with computers, often forget that their parents’ generation is much less comfortable with technology.

If you are helping your parents with their investments you should not assume that they will want the internet option when communicating with financial companies. Discuss with them whether they prefer the letter or phone option, even if it is more expensive.

One of the most difficult but vital conversations to have with your parents is about their future finances.

Your parents will fear ‘losing control’ but you don’t need to examine it down to the last penny but you do need to cover basic points to make sure there are no nasty surprises ahead for them or you!

These are the basic eight questions you should be asking:

Do you have a record of your investments, property and important documents?

One of the biggest estate planning mistakes that parents can make is simply not telling their children where their assets are. Place everything into one place or folder and list the contents. It should contain a list of their bank, pension and investment accounts and account numbers.

Do you have a financial plan and when was it last reviewed?

Increased life expectancy means a 65yr old woman can, on average, expect to live until she is 90, so it is important to understand the sources of income your parents are relying on to support their income. Do you know who their financial adviser is or how to contact them?

Have you made a Will and is there anything out of the ordinary we should be aware of?

Make sure that your parents have an up-to-date Will. If it is more than three years old, it is worth suggesting they review it to make sure their wishes are reflected and that it is tax efficient. Ask if there is anything specific which has been gifted or something that they may wish to discuss now.

In addition, it is worth checking that they have updated the beneficiaries of their life insurance policies or pensions. These are legally binding documents that may override bequests made in their Will.

Have you considered a lasting power of attorney?

A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document in which someone nominates a trusted friend or relative to look after their affairs in the event that they are unable to do so themselves.

Many people delay this process but the reality is that the best time to put an LPA in place is long before you think you might need it.

When was the last time you looked at your pension nomination forms?

Since most pension funds are held outside your estate and therefore not covered by your Will it’s essential that your parents have completed an ‘expression of wish’ form for all of their pension schemes.

If you can no longer take care of yourself, when and where would you consider moving?

Exploring whether your parents have thought about what they’ll do when they can no longer maintain a big garden or climb stairs is a difficult question to ask at the best of times, who wants to be reminded of their mortality?

In the event of an illness or worse you’ll need to address whether they want to stay in their own home or move nearer to you or a sibling. Would they want in-home care? Would they prefer moving to an assisted living facility, and if so, which one?

Have you done an inventory of the items on your home?

This can be very helpful in establishing what your parents have and what each item is worth.

From the parent’s point of view, it may help to clarify what they have and how they would to divide up their possessions. From the children’s point of view, it enables them to indicate to their parents any items they are especially interested in and agree between them a division which the parents could then include in a revised Will.

How do you like to receive financial information?

Children, especially the millennial generation who were brought up with computers, often forget that their parents’ generation is much less comfortable with technology.

If you are helping your parents with their investments you should not assume that they will want the internet option when communicating with financial companies. Discuss with them whether they prefer the letter or phone option, even if it is more expensive.

http://One of the most difficult but vital conversations to have with your parents is about their future finances.

 


Opening Hours

Please note that our office shall be closed from 1pm on 22nd December - re-opening, on 2nd January 2018 at 9am.

All the team here at Will Management Services would like to wish all our clients a very Happy Christmas and a happy, healthy. prosperous New Year.

Linda, Sarah and Marcus.


Client Feedback

We have just received a Client Service Questionnaire which contained the following comment.

What feature(s) of your experience would you most want to keep:

All of them, from as soon as you walk through the door nothing was too much trouble, this made the whole experience easier than we expected, so thank you very much.

Mr & Mrs Gibbs

Taunton


You're invited

Have you or a relative been named as an executor?

Did you know that an executor is responsible for administering the deceased's estate? They will be accountable to HMRC and the beneficiaries. The process of administering an estate can be daunting given the legal paperwork, tax calculations and various administrative tasks that need to be accurately completed.

Join us at our FREE executor event where we will offer you and your executor the opportunity to pose questions about any part of the estate administration process and how we can support you. This event will be sponsored by our partner, Kings Court Trust who are Estate Administration specialists.

Come along to the Castle Hotel Taunton TA1 1NF

Tuesday 17th October 2017, 10:30am - 1:00pm

Refreshments will be provided.

RSVP: Call 01823 336265, Email info@willmanagement.co.uk.


Breaking News

Linda Fisher, Will and Estate Planning Manager, has been approved to hold the highest grade of membership that can be applied for in the Society of Will Writers.

Linda is now a Fellow Member (FSWW). This level of membership denotes a vast amount of experience and knowledge and is only granted after application.


Jo Browne

It has been a sad week having to say goodbye to our longstanding colleague Jo Browne due to the expansion of her family business.

We wish her every success in her new venture.


Your Digital Legacy

The sad truth Is that there is one thing that we can never escape and that is death. Following the death of a loved one closing down someone’s Facebook is almost certainly never going to be on the top of the agenda but in a social age it’s likely to become a consideration. With over 30 million UK users on Facebook alone there are a lot of people that will ask this question at some point: ‘what happens to my social media accounts when I die or what do I need to do to close an account after someone has died?’

Facebook report that there are over 30 million users that have died and continue to exist somewhere in the world wide web. That is just one platform. These figures don’t take into account the number of people that use social media platforms like Twitter or Instagram.

HERE ARE THE ANSWERS WE HAVE GATHERED:

Facebook allows you to add a ‘legacy account’ who can take limited control of your account after you’ve passed away. You also have the choice as to whether you would like your Facebook account permanently deleted after you’ve died or if you would like to have your profile memorialised meaning friends and family can post messages of remembrance.

For further information, please visit the Facebook Help Page.

Twitter say that in the event of the death of one of its users they can work with a person authorised to act on the behalf of the estate (an executor), or with a verified immediate family member of the deceased, to have an account deactivated.

In the event of the death of a user the account provider (Twitter for example) will be likely to ask for identification from the family member or executor including a copy of the death certificate. Access to the Twitter profile will not be given to anyone else.

For more information, please visit the Twitter Help Page.

Much like Facebook, Instagram will memorialise the account of the deceased person on notification of their death. Posts the deceased person shared stay on Instagram and are visible to the audience they were shared with, but memorialised accounts don’t appear in public spaces like searches.

For more information, please visit the Instagram Help Page.

If you have an iTunes account and music, then there could be problems if you were to die. When you sign up for an Apple ID you agree to the iTunes Store Terms and Conditions. It doesn’t mention what happens in the event of death, but it does feature the following statement:

‘You may not rent, lease, lend, sell, transfer distribute, or sublicense the Licensed Application and, if you sell your Mac Computer or iOS device to a third party, you must remove the Licensed Application from the Mac Computer or iOS device before doing so.’

This suggests that when you die, your iTunes content becomes inaccessible. But this isn’t necessarily the case. The content remains locked to that account and there is no way that you can pass it on to another person.

You can appeal to Apple staff directly at iTunesStoreSupport@apple.com to discuss the situation. We know that in the past Apple staff have stepped in to offer to help people, although they may ask you to prove that the relative has died and prove that they owned the account you are trying to gain control of.


Don't forget!

To come along to our special event - Saturday 16th September 2017, 10-4pm

Later Life Planning - meet the experts. We hope to see you there.


Remember a Charity in your Will week in September 11th - 17th.

We are supporting Somerset Wildlife Trust and offering anyone who remembers this charity in their Will a discount of 20% for the drafting of a straightforward Will during the offer period.

Somerset Wildlife Trust is the county's leading conservation charity, dedicated to conserving a broad range of wild places and fragile habitats, and safeguarding the future of some of the county's most iconic and vulnerable wildlife. They manage reserves across the county which equate together to over 1,700 hectares of land, and inspire communities to take action for wildlife and get involved in events throughout the year.  Be part of it.


Invitation - Later Life Planning

"Planning for the future, allowing you time to live life today"

You are invited to come along to a special event created by experts to help you prepare for the future.

Saturday 16th September 2017, 10-4pm

Drop into our office 12 Hammet Street Taunton Somerset TA1 1RZ for an informal chat and to browse our range of information leaflets available to take away.

Experts will be on hand from Will Management Services, Crescent Funeral Services, Invest Southwest Financial Advisers, Golden Leaves Funeral Plans, care home and pastoral support and even a celebrant minister!

This is our first event of this kind, so please extend our invitation to your family and friends who may be interested in coming along.


Lasting Power of Attorney refund!

It has come to our attention that the Office of the Public Guardian for England and Wales (OPG) has admitted to charging excessive fees for registration of Lasting Powers of Attorney for the last 4 years.

They have advised 'We are committed to taking such steps as are necessary to make sure that people are made aware of, and receive, the refunds to which they are entitled.

No further information is currently available as to how this will happen, but rest assured we will keep you up to date on how to claim your refund.


Free Review Friday

Have you looked at your Will recently?Did you understand the content? Is it still tax efficient?

If your answer to any of the above is NO or you are unsure – then give us a call or pop into our office on any Friday and we will give you a FREE review of your Will along with up to date advice.Don’t delay – do it TODAY!


WI Bridgwater Presentation

On Tuesday 6th June 2017 Linda Fisher and Sarah Corp attended WI Bridgwater at the Admirals Landing to present on Wills, Lasting Power of Attorney and associated topics.

There were 53 members in attendance. The presentation lasted for 45 minutes followed by 20 minutes of individual questions from members.

The members took advantage of the brochure information packs that we had taken with us as well as the branded pens!

If you are a member of a group and would like Linda to present - please just get in touch. The presentation is free. Why not take advantage and keep your group up to date - give us a call, we look forward to hearing from you.


Fully Trained

I am very pleased to announce that Sarah Corp has now passed all her examinations and is now a fully qualified Will writer and member of the Society of Will Writers.

Sarah is a valued team member and looks forward to meeting both exising and new clients.

Very well done Sarah and welcome aboard!


Social Media accounts and death

Following the death of a loved one closing down someone’s Facebook account is most certainly never going to be on top of the agenda, but in this social age we are now in, it’s likely to become a consideration.

Facebook report that there are over 30 million users that have died and continue to exist somewhere on the world wide web, these figures do not include other social platforms such as Twitter or Instagram.

So what can you do:Facebook allows you to add a ‘legacy contact’ who can take limited control of your account after you have passed away.

You also have the choice as to whether you would like your Facebook account permanently deleted after you’ve died or if you would like to have your profile memorialised - meaning friends and family can post messages of remembrance.

For further information, please visit Facebook help page.

I will post further details of other Social Platforms shortly… watch this space!


Free Advice Session 

Come and meet the experts!

Linda Fisher MSWW and Paul Gold IFA will be available on Friday 28th April 2017 at The Langport Arms Hotel Langport Somerset TA10 9PD between 10am - 2pm.

Why not pop along and have a chat, bring your Will with you, let us advise you on its content. What does it mean, is it tax efficient, are your assets protected?

We look forward to meeting you. Refreshments available.

Please call us for further details. 01823 336265.

 


Free Advice Session                       

Linda FisherCome and meet the experts!

Linda Fisher MSWW and Paul Booker IFA will be available on Tuesday 18th April at Wellington School South Street Wellington Somerset TA21 8NT between 10am-2pm.

Why not pop along and get the answer to those questions that you keeping meaning to ask!

We look forward to meeting you. Refreshments available.

Please call us for further details: 01823 336265



NEWSFLASH

The Office of the Public Guardian reduce Lasting Power of Attorney fees from 1st April 2017.

Each full document registration will now be just £82 instead of £110.

Have you been thinking about putting this is place?

Now is the time to do it!


 

Funeral Plans

This is your chance to put your affairs in order and protect those closest to you from the stress and expense of arranging your funeral.

Golden Leaves, our chosen provider are currently offering reduced prices until 30th April 2017.

In addition to these reduced fees they have added two further choices of plan with prices starting at just £1745.

Purchasing one of the pre-paid plans will enable you to not only secure the future funeral service that you specifically desire, but help remove a number of issues from your next of kin.

Pre-planning and paying for your funeral is one of the most thoughtful things you can do to help those close to you to cope with bereavement.

Why not do it today and get on with living your life?


 

DIY Wills 

 

You could of course write your own Will. In fact, high street stationary shops will even sell you a kit to enable you to do so. But whilst the low cost of these DIY Will kits may seem very appealing at first, the £10 you spend writing one now could in fact cost you a lot more later down the line when changes need to be made, or when your family need to go through Probate after you have passed away. This can be very stressful for those you leave behind, and during a time when they should be mourning they are having to deal with your estate using a Will which is incorrect, or worse invalid.

If your wishes are quite simple, for example you’re married and you wish to leave everything to your spouse or children, then a DIY Will may well be a viable option. However, when things start to get a bit more complex, for example if you are not married, in a second marriage or you own a business or perhaps have assets overseas, then it would be far more sensible to seek out professional advice to avoid any mistakes.

The most common issue with a DIY Will is when it comes to witnessing the document. For a Will to be valid it must be signed by the person making the Will (the testator) and two independent adults. Neither of these witnesses can be beneficiaries under the Will or spouses or civil partners of any of the beneficiaries. If the Will is not signed correctly it will be invalid, meaning your estate will pass in accordance with the laws of intestacy and most likely end up with your estate not being distributed as you would have liked. With this being the case, it is advised that you use a professional Will writer to not only draft the document for you, but to also ensure it is signed and witnessed correctly avoiding any difficulties upon death.


 

Will Clinic Friday


 

The Importance of planning your Will.

So you have a Will, but how effective is the planning behind it?

The importance of having a valid Will cannot be emphasised enough. Understandably, when it comes to making a Will, we would all hope to cover every eventuality, to ensure that our assets, possessions and everything we have worked hard for, go to the exact people we wish.

Sometimes, however, it is simply not possible to cover every eventuality and trying to do so can prove to be detrimental. The next most important element, on top of having a valid Will, is that the document itself deals with the distribution of your estate sensibly and that there is careful planning behind the content in your Will.

Where an estate is large, you should always take into account the issues of Inheritance tax, as there may be instances where despite applying exemptions there will still be a liability.

Having a Will is important, but the next most important thing is the planning that you put in behind it.

Failure to act effectively and properly plan how your estate is to be distributed when you die can be as detrimental as not having a Will at all.


 

Why is the cost of death rising?

Recent research has shown that the cost of death is soaring, with funerals becoming more expensive than ever before.

It is estimated that an average funeral now costs £4,000 and reports suggest that this largely down to the increase in basic charges being made by local councils, which have risen by as much as 30% across the UK. It has been suggested that councils are increasing their charges as part of a strategy to recoup money following years of cuts to their budgets.

In addition, some funeral director fees are rising above the rate of inflation. This combination could result in families struggling to pay for the type of funeral they want to provide for their loved one. Typically, half of burial costs go towards a coffin, a gravedigger and buying the lease for a plot, while a third of the cremation bill goes on the use of the crematorium and the service itself.

The report also highlights that burial costs vary significantly depending on where you live in the UK.

A funeral plan can avoid the uncertainty and is one less thing for your family to worry about.

If you would like more information about this service, please contact us.


 

Merry Chistmas and Happy New Year

 

The office is closed for the festive period and will re-open at 9am, Tuesday 3rd January. We would like to thank all our clients, providers, suppliers and in fact everyone we do business with for a fantastic 2016 and wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe & happy New Year.


 

 

 

 

 

Margaret Young has retired

Margaret worked for Will Management Services since its inception in 2008. She is seen here at our annual Christmas party with Linda Fisher who presented Margaret with a string of pearls and a magnificent orchid. This took place at a drinks reception in our Hammet Street offices which was followed by dinner at Augustas Restaurant where Margaret said farewell to all her colleagues prior to commencing her well-earned retirement.

Margaret said: “When I accepted the initial task with Will Management Services it was to populate a new data base and I thought to myself, well, I will give it three months and see whether this is for me......eight years have now passed – in a flash – but now it is time for me to retire. I am delighted to see how successful we have become and I am proud to have played a part. It has been a pleasure working with a wonderful team and I leave knowing that all bodes well for the future”.

Margaret concluded by thanking both David Penny and Linda Fisher for their guidance, support, generosity and kindness. She will be sadly missed.


 

 

Increase in Will disputes attributed to rising property prices

 

 

It has been reported that the increase in the number of children involved in inheritance disputes has been fuelled by the rise in property prices.

As the value of property has soared during the last decade, the estates of ‘ordinary’ families have become more likely to prompt inheritance disputes as families go to war over the division of assets. The high court saw a 11% rise in the last year.

One reason for this surge is due to the rise in more complicated family structures which ash led to more relatives, such as step-children, expecting to benefit from the estate.

The children of the deceased can make a claim under the Inheritance Act if they feel reasonable provisions have not been made for them. There is also an option for those who were treated as the deceased’s child to claim against the estate, even if no formal or legal arrangement exists – such as when children have been fostered or adopted.

A professionally written Will along with the correct advice can ensure that your Will is clear and legally binding.


 

Estate Administration

Estate administration is the process of dealing with a person’s legal and tax affairs after they’ve died.

All estates need to be administered to some extent.

This normally means dealing with all of their assets (such as property and personal possessions) and liabilities (such as outstanding debts) before transferring whatever is left to the beneficiaries.

If you are named as an executor in a Will you may need to think about:

• Closing bank accounts and paying debts

• Dealing with shares and investments

• Redirecting post

• Rehoming pets

• Selling property and assets

• Dealing with Inheritance Tax and Income Tax forms

• Dealing with specialist legal work

These are just some of the tasks that you may need to consider.

Some people decide to administer the estate by themselves but this can take a significant amount of time and effort, especially if you’ve never had to go through the process before.

If you decide to undertake the work yourself, you should also be aware that you are personally liable for any mistakes made during the process, such as when completing tax returns and legal paperwork.

For these reasons, many people prefer to appoint a specialist to do the work on their behalf.

We’re here to help.


 

Property Deeds/Unregistered Property

 

Do you know where your property deeds are?

Is the bank storing them? Are they with your mortgage provider? Are they somewhere in your home?

If you do not know the answer to that question - you really should!

Safety of deeds is very important, these documents confirm that you are the legal owner of your property. Deeds are easily misplaced: even by banks.

If your property is unregistered at the Land Registry we advise checking where your Deeds are - better still register it now - in your lifetime. This will avoid extra delay and costs for compulsory registration after death.

Worst case scenarios for unregistered property can be frightful, and drafting replacement deeds/obtaining insurance and claiming adverse possession is not always straightforward.


 

Will-based Trusts

Main considerations:

The Will is not the Trust: it is a blueprint only.

Executors/Trustees must instruct a professional to draft declarations of trust, and pay for any conveyancing of the land. Trustees cannot be easily made accountable unless they have signed a deed declaring their responsibilities over trust assets.

Further costs on set-up therefore arise: spare cash in the estate is necessary. Even a small insurance policy can help, especially for property-rich, cash-poor estates.

Trustees need CAREFUL SELECTION. If they cannot take care of accounts, financial planning and tax returns - or have the presence of mind to instruct on these points - they are unsuitable. They are personally liable for all negligent loss. They should be present and capable, preferably in the UK, of practically handling beneficiary requirements.


 

An Introduction to the residential Nil Rate Band
 

image

You have probably by now heard about the Residential Nil Rate Band (RNRB), which     has also been referred to as the Main Residence Nil Rate Band or simply the family home allowance. This new allowance was announced in the Summer 2015 Budget and will take effect from 6 April 2017.

The RNRB will be an additional allowance to the current Nil Rate Band (NRB) which currently stands at £325,000 and will be frozen at this figure until the end of 2020 to 2021. The RNRB will be introduced in stages until it reaches the full amount of £175,000 after 6 April 2021. The new allowance will be phased in as follows:

  • £100,000 for 2017 to 2018
  • £125,000 for 2018 to 2019
  • £150,000 for 2019 to 2020
  • £175,000 for 2020 to 2021

This will mean that by 2020-21 married couples and civil partners may pass on up to £1 million worth of assets to their children and grandchildren free of Inheritance Tax.

The RNRB will be limited to only one residential property. If you own more than one property then your personal representative will need to elect one qualifying property. To qualify for the allowance a property must currently be your main residence or have been used as your main residence at one point. The property that you own as a buy to let and have never used as your residence will NOT qualify for RNRB.

A property must be 'closely inherited' by Will or under the rules of Intestacy. 'closely inherited' here means that the property must be inherited by your children, grandchildren or other lineal descendants. This also includes your step-children, adopted children, children of whom you have been appointed guardian of, and also fostered children.

If the net value of your estate is over £2 million (the taper threshold) then the RNRB will be reduced by £1 for every £2 that the net value of your estate exceeds £2 million.

Finally, the RNRB may be transferred in the same manner as the NRB. On the death of a surviving spouse or civil partner their personal representatives may apply for any unused RNRB to be transferred.

These matters are complex and if you wish to discuss any of the implications above and how it will affect your family please do get in touch with us. We are here to help.


 

Guardianship   
                                              

When you are writing your Will you should consider the appointment of guardians for your minor children (under 18 years).

Every parent wants a good upbringing for their children. Sadly, not all parents are able to see their children grow up. You could still have an impact on how your minor children are brought up if you weren't around, by appointing guardians for your children.

Guardians are the people who would look after your children should you not be around.

You could then write a letter of wishes to go alongside your Will. This letter will allow you to express how you wish your children to be raised. Common examples of inclusions in letters of wishes relating to guardianship include - raising children in line with the faith/religion of the parent, information as to the schooling you would like them to receive, and the people with whom you would like them to keep in contact.

You need to be aware however, that a letter of wishes is not legally binding. It is therefore important that you choose someone who would raise your children in line with your wishes.

Do also consider the appointment of substitute guardians in case your first options are unable/unwilling to act.


 

Emergency Will

There are certain circumstances under which you may need a Will prepared incredibly quickly. This is known as an Emergency Will.

Any Will is only ever a snapshot in time. This is why it is important that you update your Will every 3 to 5 years. If you don't have a Will and something happened to you then your estate would pass in accordance with the rules of intestacy. Thi

Spring 2017 Newsletter
Spring 2017 Newsletter

will-management-brouchure
will-management-brouchure

Money Newsletter Summer 2017
Money Newsletter Summer 2017

Wealth Newsletter
Wealth Newsletter

Invest Southwest Will Management on Twitter