If you own a business – whether it’s a partnership or you’re a sole trader – it’s important to factor in what could happen to the business in the event of your death.
Here’s how dying without a will can affect your business and family’s future
When you are busy running your own business, estate planning is often the last thing on your mind.
With the pressure of work and your to-do list growing, it’s understandable why you want the will-writing process to be over and done with as quickly as possible.
Here’s a list of the 7 simple mistakes to avoid so you have peace of mind your wishes are carried out when you’re gone:
As the saying goes, nothing in this world is certain, except death and taxes. Although this is true, there is a definite (and legal) way you can mitigate the latter.
It’s crucial to obtain the right information regarding your valued assets now, so that when the inevitable happens, your family have the security they deserve with no unexpected surprises.
With the effects of inflation and investment growth, as many as 800,000 homes in Britain are now worth at least a million pounds. This means more people are likely to fall into the Inheritance Tax (IHT) net and they may not even know it.
The problem is you have falling into the inheritance tax trap and it will be those you leave behind who have to pick up the pieces
Late last year a case was brought in front of a Judge by a recently deceased father’s son. The son (‘Claimant’) had presented a view that his father’s (the ‘Deceased’) Will was invalid due to lack of testamentary (mental) capacity.
If you own a business – whether it’s a partnership or you’re a sole trader – it’s important to factor in what could happen to the business in the event of your death.
Here’s how dying without a will can affect your business and family’s future:
As the saying goes, nothing in this world is certain, except death and taxes. Although this is true, there is a definite (and legal) way you can avoid the latter.
What is a FLIT?
What are the benefits of having a FLIT?
What is it?
If in the future you are unable to make decisions for yourself – known as lacking ‘mental capacity’, you can officially appoint someone you trust. This gives them the right to make decisions on your behalf.
The person given the power, known as the attorney, must be over 18 years old.
There are two types of LPA’s:
Property and financial affairs – it restricts the appointed person to only deal with managing property matters for the properties you specify being dealt with by him/her. You can also opt to appoint someone to manage all or certain aspects of your finances.
Health and welfare – this type can only be enforceable after you have lost your mental capacity. The individual you appoint may be required to make decisions on your day-to-day well-being or your treatments based on the care you require.
How does having an LPA benefit you?
In the event you are unable to make decisions, only your attorney will be able to make them on your behalf. This would be assuring for you that decisions will be made in your best interests.
It is a tool to help you plan for the future. It can be time saving and less onerous in situations where you no longer have the capacity to authorise someone.
The attorney can only act in accordance with the terms of the LPA.
Your appointed attorney can only act under the LPA if it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian by you. If you lose capacity before registration, your attorney can apply to have it registered on your behalf. Although registration can take a minimum of six weeks to be effective.
Ensure the responsibilities of your attorney have been clearly set out. If there are specific aspects that you do not wish for the attorney to deal with, ensure these restrictions are clearly indicated.
Illnesses that may prevent you from decision making are: dementia, mental health problems, brain injuries, alcohol or drug mis-use, or side effects of medical treatment. Where you are diagnosed with either of these you may want to give serious consideration to implementing an LPA before it is too late.
Whether you are considering an LPA or would like general guidance, speak to our team members on 020 3745 7271 or email us your query to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Recently married or divorced? Had a child? Inherited some money? Bought a new house? Or significant changes in your health.
Too many of us don’t have a Will – in fact only one out of three adults in the UK has one. Everyone should have a Will, particularly if you have children, own a property or business or have significant savings and investments. Having a valid Will is the best way to ensure your loved ones are looked after in the way you want after your death.
3 reasons you should review your Will
1) Your circumstances change
2) Your wishes change
3) The law changes
If any of those change you must review your Will to make sure it is still “fit for purpose” says our Wills coordinator.
Reviewing your Will is a like spring clean. You don’t particularly want to, but you’ll feel better when you do.
We advise you to have regular check-ups, especially if you haven’t reviewed your Will in a number of years, right now is probably a very good time to start your initial review.
It’s important to remember that over a period of 5 years, your personal circumstances could dramatically change. Your investments may increase, you may have children, other expenses to consider. We recommend reviewing your Will and estate planning every 5 years to ensure your instructions are kept up to date.
A Will just might be the most important legal document you'll ever sign. It protects your most important assets—your family.
Without one, the courts—and not you—decide what happens to your assets. They can even decide what happens to your children. So make sure to use this checklist to keep your Will up-to-date and in good working order.
For free initial advice and guidance call our Wills team on 020 3745 7271 or email us your query email@example.com
Every year thousands of consumers create their own Do-it-Yourself wills. 60% of the people who die, die without a Will. Those who die leaving a DIY kit, get it wrong. And, from a half-decent-lawyer perspective, we say it just goes down hill from there.
1) But the law says a DIY Will stands
Can you write your own Will? Sure you can! You can also build your own house, but that doesn’t mean you should. A Will is an important legal document that distributes your property to people you have named such as the summer house to your son, the boat to your daughter and the £20,000 in your bank account to the husband. These are simple and straightforward instructions that a DIY Will can deal with.
It may be cheaper to avoid using a professional, but a simple mistake can mean paying a much higher price.
We know it is mostly price and time that drives you to a DIY Will. Using an off-the-shelf Will can be strategic, after all “they are strong products, if they are used properly,” says our Wills leader. It may even “offer an attractive price” in place of a solicitor or professional, but a simple error can prove disastrous. For example, the draft may not properly reflect the way you intended it, thereby making it invalid.
“The risk of leaving your family with a financial and emotional mess” is simply not worth it. According to the Guardian, a poorly drafted on an ineffective DIY Will affects 38,000 families each year.
3) A Will is akin to open heart surgery, you simply don’t do that by yourself
It’s the importance of good advice, unless your needs are simple that can make or break a Will.
If conditions need to be added or if there are additional complications, doing it yourself could easily prove false economy.
“This is particularly the case if you aren’t married to your partner, if you and your partner have children from previous relationships, if you are looking to split properties, if you own a business, have overseas assets, or are concerned about inheritance tax” - Patrick Connolly of Chase de Vere financial advisers.
4) A DIY Will that fails because you didn’t get it witnessed
Most DIY Wills share something in common. They aren’t 1) properly witnessed or 2) witnessed at all which makes them invalid.
Other errors include misspelled names and failure to sign the document properly making them very difficult to act upon and will undoubtedly invite court fees at later stages to sort it.
5) Complex wishes really do need a professional
Complex Trust Wills require a specialist to look carefully at how you own your property.
The benefit of this is that you may wish to change the way in which you own your property (if you own it with someone else) and that will require an SEV form. Simple instructions can easily go wrong if you do not know how to navigate land registry forms.
There is no substitute for proper legal advice when it comes to people with complicated affairs; those with children from a previous marriage, for instance, or with an estate that could potentially be subject to inheritance tax. Although this will obviously cost more than using a basic will pack or seeking advice from unqualified advisers, the potential savings could be worth an awful lot more in the long run.
“…I always assumed that the laws would take care of my youngest son if I died…it wasn’t until a friend recommended me to Carter Bond Wills that I understood I was wrong in assuming…”
If you don’t leave a Will then the law will step in and a rigid set of rules, known as the Intestacy Rules, will dictate what happens to your estate.
If you die without leaving a valid Will then the law will step in at this point too, deciding how your estate will be shared out, not the wishes expressed in the Will.
Making sure you properly understand the Rules of Intestacy that applies in England and Wales is our number one priority. We aim to put your mind at ease and remove this very common assumption that the law will properly take care of your child/ren or those in your guardianship. Sadly, that assumption still exists.
Navigating the strict rules that apply when someone dies without a valid Will is quite often disappointing. The rules often do not allow for modern family relationships, for example, unmarried or unregistered partners.
A surviving partner will not automatically inherit from you, if you die.
The only way to make it absolutely clear who should inherit your property and possessions after you pass away is by making a Will. If you don’t have a Will, they will have to make a valid inheritance claim instead, or the family who inherit can vary the distribution for your partner.
The rules don’t acknowledge step children
This is because the Rules of Intestacy only recognise natural relationships meaning that on intestacy, the surviving natural and adopted children will automatically inherit any of the property or possessions owned in the sole name of the deceased.
Married partners and civil partners
Married or civil partners inherit under the rules of intestacy, only if they are married or in a civil partnership at the time of death.
Partners who separated informally can still inherit under the rules of intestacy. Co-habiting partners (sometimes wrongly called ‘common-law’ partners) who were neither married nor in a civil partnership can’t inherit under the rules of intestacy.
If there are surviving children, grandchildren or great grandchildren of the person who died, and the estate is valued at more than £250,000, the partner will inherit:
1) All the personal property of the person who has died, and
2) The first £250,000 of the estate, and
3) Half of the remaining estate.
What does this mean? Take a look at our case study
For example: Roshni was in a civil partnership with Rishi and they adopted a daughter called Jia. Roshni died without leaving a Will. Her estate is worth £450,000. After Rishi inherits her share of £250,000, the estate that is left is worth £200,000. Rishi can have half of this - £100,000.
If there are no surviving children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren, the partner Will inherit:
1) All the personal property and belongings of the person who has died, and
2) The whole of the estate with interest from the date of death.
Does owning a property jointly matter to me?
You can own your home in two different ways. These are beneficial joint tenancies and tenancies in common.
If the partners were beneficial joint tenants at the time of the death, when the first partner dies, the surviving partner will automatically inherit the other partner's share of the property. However, if the partners are tenants in common, the surviving partner does not automatically inherit the other person's share.
For more information about beneficial joint tenancies and tenancies in common, speak to a member of our team to see if your will properly reflects how you wish you estate to pass.
Couples may also have joint bank or building society accounts. If one dies, the other partner will automatically inherit the whole of the money.
Property and money that the surviving partner inherits does not count as part of the estate of the person who has died when it is being valued for the intestacy rules.
Case Study: Rishi and Roshni are married and own their flat jointly as beneficial joint tenants. They have a child called Jia. Rishi dies intestate leaving the jointly-owned flat worth £300,000, and £50,000 in shares in his own name. The flat goes automatically to Roshni. This leaves an estate of £50,000 which also goes to Roshni, as it is worth less than £250,000. Jia inherits nothing.
If Rishi had owned the flat in his name alone, his estate would have been worth £350,000. It would be shared out according to the rules of intestacy, that is, Roshni would get the first £250,000. This leaves an estate of £100,000. Roshni would get £50,000 and Jia would get the remaining £50,000.
What about your close relatives and children?
To understand the implications of intestacy and how that affects your children, you can speak to our skilled advisers who can help you understand why it is better to arrange your Will now.
“…Everyone needs a Will. It is that simple…”
Facing the fear of death is something most people are not prepared to do. Our clients often tell us that time was their number one reason for not sitting down and going through their assets. Or they say they were unable to decide on executors or guardians, when in fact, we know that the ultimate reason for not having a will written professionally is fear of death.
Discussing death is a ludicrous thing, right? And, thinking about death is even more unattractive. So why do we recommend you seriously take the advice of our team? Let’s face it, the only positives are the following 5 reasons.
1. You are not buying a document from a lawyer. You are buying their advice.
Rarely is death a positive topic. Yet, the somewhat sore topic is why Carter Bond Wills have a dedicated team to ensure that your Will becomes a legal instrument that removes doubt as to whom you wish to benefit from your estate.
Our teams know exactly what we are asking of you to do and, that is, to make an all-important decision about who is (and who is not) going to benefit from your estate when you pass. For this reason alone, you need clear, structured and easy-to-follow guidance to make sure your will truly reflects what you want it to, legally.
Our wills team are here to make sure your Will tells everyone what should happen to your money, possessions and property after you die.
2. You acknowledge the people who played a special role in your life.
Writing a Will is a way of acknowledging those special people you have long admired, raised or developed a relationship with, whilst you were alive.
This makes your will a strategic tool that you can use to ensure your money, possessions and property (your ‘estate’) are all safely handed down to the person you intended for it to.
If you don’t have a Will, everything you own will be shared out in a standard way according to the law – which isn’t always the way you might want.
3. A will makes financial sense
A Will is still subject to tax. Instead of trying to use a Will to avoid the often heavy estate taxes, explore different types of trusts that may work for your situation. Trusts can escape a lot of tax subjection, because the property is not passing directly to the beneficiary, rather to the trust account, over which the beneficiary does not have complete control.
If a person dies without a Will, it means they have died intestate, allowing their wealth to be distributed according to the laws of the country in which the person lived.
4. Your Will is especially important if you have children (under 18) or others who depend on you financially.
At Carter Bond Wills we ensure that your will performs the way it should, especially with minors or others in your care.
Not knowing what will happen to your children or those in your care, how they will be taken care of or who will take care of them are all factors we take into consideration when your will is drafted.
Ensuring they have the support, finances and opportunities you wanted them to, are worth including in your will. By leaving a Will, you appoint your guardians making it easier for those who you intended to look after your child/ren, to do that hassle-free.
Without a Will, the courts have an overwhelming say in where those children or people in your care are placed.
You will need to consider financial support for them by setting up a trust.
5. You decide your wishes and who carries them out.
Your Will tells people two very important things:
1) who should have your estate when you die.
2) who will be the executor of your Will, following the instructions you leave and if they agree.
What happens if you don’t have a Will?
One thing stays true, if you don’t make a will, the Government will dispose of your estate for you in accordance with the law.
If you die intestate (without a Will) it can mean that your estate might be passed on to someone you had not intended it to.
In future you might need someone to make decisions for you or act on your behalf for a number of reasons, your age should not be a reason to leave off creating a Lasting Power of Attorney (“LPA”).
Arguably the only reason to insist why you should have your LPA written up now is the fact of life: will you have capacity to do so tomorrow? You need not hit a milestone in age, finances or possessions before your instruct an LPA to carry out your wishes, whilst you still can.
This important legal document allows you to choose another individual(s) to make decisions about your estate and your health and welfare on your behalf, if you are unable to make them yourself. Setting up an LPA is a significant step to ensure that you and your family have peace of mind and protection in the future.
Why you need to arrange your LPA now?
You can only arrange your LPA whilst you retain mental capacity to do so. That means you should do it before illness, an accident or diminished mental capacity makes you unable to.
Leave it too late and your wishes may not be reflected the way you want them to.
Not having an LPA in place can make it very difficult for your loved ones to automatically look after your financial affairs and the Court will have to appoint someone to manage your finances. This can be lengthy, stressful and costly.
To avoid high costs our dedicated team of specialists will help you set up your LPA over the telephone or in person.
You are never too young nor old to arrange your LPA, yet, time is still of the essence.
Losing mental capacity can happen to anyone, without warning. Unless you’ve already arranged for your LPA, your loved ones will need to apply through court to become ‘deputy’, a complex and costly process.
The LPA is a powerful exercise in planning ahead. A plan to be used, in case you lose mental capacity, and with one person in the UK developing dementia every three minutes, it’s never too early to consider making the decision to instruct a solicitor to arrange your LPA.
Your financial position, business, property or care are specified in the LPA.
A Lasting Power of Attorney covering issues of finance and property allows you (the donor) to specify whether it can be used before you lose capacity, or only when you lack capacity. So if someone, for example, an elderly relative, follows the steps above and specifies this, you will be able to deal with their affairs while they still have mental capacity.
Whilst you’re setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney it’s a good time to ensure you have an up-to-date Will.
Speak to our dedicated team to see if your Will needs to be updated or if you wish to change your Will, call us on 020 3745 7271 .