Wills & Estate Planning
At Cadence Finance we only refer you to Independent Will Writers that are committed to giving you a personal service. Our panel of Will Writers are specialist trust & estate planning companies who assess and match a Will to your requirements. Our panel can help you set up a lasting power of attorney and discuss the use of Trusts. Our panel can store your Will and provide professional executors to handle your affairs.
Why should I have a will?
A will allows you to do many things that would not be possible if you were to die intestate, (without a will). This includes:
Specifying the people who will administer your estate.
Giving direction to your executors in regards to specific assets.
Achieving desired tax and estate planning objectives.
Protecting your assets from being used to pay for long term care fees.
Indicating who should be the custodians of your children.
I already have a will. How often should it be reviewed?
It is important to review your will whenever there have been changes in family circumstances, for example: births, deaths, disabilities, marriages, separation/divorce, or if there has been a significant change in your wealth. Even if no such changes have occurred there may have been changes in income tax or other laws.
Can I make my own will?
In England and Wales you can write your own will, but there are many traps which could result in estate assets passing to persons not intended to receive them. This can be because:
Key will provisions are invalid.
The person’s choice of words runs foul of a legal rule or principle of which the writer was unaware.
The best advice is to rely on a professional will writer to take instructions and translate them into legal, effective provisions.
Doesn’t my spouse get everything when I die anyway?
If you were to die without a will intestate the law determines who gets your assets and how much. These rules say that your spouse, if you have children, only receives the first £125,000, including the value of your house, (if the house is worth more than £125,000 this may have to be sold). Without children they will receive the first £200,000. Beyond that things become more complicated.
What happens if I die without a will?
Dying intestate will have various consequences. Firstly, the cost of administering your estate will be higher and the person who is given authority to administer your assets will not necessarily be someone you would have chosen. The distribution of your estate is fixed by statute, (irrespective of your intentions or the beneficiaries’ needs) with all amounts paid out to heirs as soon as they are 18. Meanwhile, trustees are limited in the investments they can make on behalf of minors, with the Children’s Lawyer, (a government appointee) administering the share for a child. If you have children your spouse may not inherit everything.
My wife and I have separated – do I need to change my will?
Separation does not affect your will, even if you have a Separation Agreement, which provides that your spouse will have no claim against you under your will. Making a will is a matter that should be attended to immediately upon separation. Your spouse may still claim against you under the relevant marital property laws.
I’m not married but live with a partner – what happens to my estate?
If you are living with a partner but are not married, he/she will not be able to keep anything that belongs to you. All of your assets will be distributed according to the law.
I was divorced recently, but how do I ensure that my ex-spouse does not receive anything under my will?
Divorce automatically revokes gifts to a former spouse and removes that person as an executor, (if he or she was so appointed) unless the will states otherwise. If the scheme of distribution in your will contemplates gifts to your ex-spouse, the chances are that other changes will be appropriate as a consequence and you should therefore not rely on the revocation rule. Unless you make a new will, your executor will be obliged to notify your ex-spouse that an application for probate has been submitted to the court. Your former spouse may participate in the proceedings if he or she wishes. They may argue that your will indicates an intention they should receive bequests under the will, notwithstanding the divorce.
Do I need to worry about taxes on my death?
If your estate is worth more than £650,000, those who are married or in registered civil partnerships will have to pay Inheritance Tax, (IHT). In this case the beneficiaries will need to pay 40% on everything above that amount. Those couples who are not married or in registered civil partnerships are especially exposed. Not only may you end up paying IHT twice on the same estate, but it may be that the survivor will need to sell the family home to raise the money to pay the tax. You should talk to a professional who is experienced in tax and estate planning who can give you good advice in minimising exposure to this tax on your death. It is possible to save many thousands of pounds through simple measures.