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New Year, New Will? Why You Should Consider Making a Will in 2021

January 2021

What is your new year’s resolution? Being more active? Starting a new hobby? Finding a new job? Whatever it is, one New Year’s resolution we all should have in the forefront of our minds for 2021 is to make a Will, or review your existing Will if you already have one.

We all underestimate the importance of making a Will, but it is a hugely important legal mechanism which provides the greatest protection for your assets when you’re no longer here.

Why Make a Will?

A Will sets out in clear and concise terms who is to benefit from your estate when you die. If you die without making a Will, then your estate will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy. While the laws of intestacy have recently been updated, they are still far from ideal, and therefore may lead to your assets ending up somewhere that would have been against your wishes.

It may come as some surprise to you as to who could potentially benefit from your estate if you do not have a Will. This could mean that your partner receives less (or in some cases, nothing), or that your money passes on to distant relatives you may not have known.

In addition, if you make a Will in advance, you can save your loved ones substantial inheritance tax as well as legal costs which often arise when someone dies intestate (without leaving a will).

There are many different ways to put together a Will and succession plan that suits your needs. Some options to consider include:

  1. ‘Mirror Wills’: A ‘Mirror Will’ is a term often given to a Will which is made in conjunction with a spouse or partner.
  2. Provisions for children: You may want to consider putting in place specific arrangements for looking after surviving children, for example, to ensure their educational needs are covered.
  3. Trust Funds: You may wish to set up a trust fund for surviving children, especially for very young children or children with a disability.
  4. Bequests: Many people decide to make additional bequests in their Wills which detail certain assets to be left to specific individuals, charities or organisations.
  5. Executors: You will need to make a decision on who to elect as the individuals or body that will execute your wishes in the Will.
  6. Inheritance tax: You may need to think about seeking advice on inheritance tax. In some circumstances, inheritance tax can be payable on your estate, however significant savings can be made through tax planning and a carefully drafted Will.

While this list of options may seem overwhelming, we can talk you through each step with sensitivity and discretion to help you make a plan that works best for you.

If you would like to make a new Will or review the provisions of your existing Will, please contact our Private Wealth & Succession Planning specialist, Hardeep Nijher, for further information.