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Control and protect your family assets with a Will trust

What is a Will trust ?

A Will trust – also known as a testamentary trust – is created within your will to allow you to protect the property you hope to pass on to your family. Trusts are legal entities that allow someone to benefit from an asset without being the legal owner. You create the trust and appoint a person to manage it – the ‘trustee’. The trustee manages the trust on behalf of the ‘beneficiaries’ – those who receive the income of the trust. Establishing trusts can give you an element of control over assets you wouldn’t have if you gave them away outright.

There can also be tax advantages, but that should never be the main reason for setting one up. In some cases, you could end up paying more tax by putting assets into the trust. Trusts can be complicated structures with tax implications, and you should always seek legal advice before setting one up. There are two main types of trust that you might choose to set up: a Will trust, created upon your death, or a Lifetime trust, which you establish during your lifetime. We can explain the pros and cons of both to ensure you have the protection, control and peace of mind you require.

Will Trust and Health and Welfare LPA + Property and Financial LPA Package: £1,250 per couple
( Online Instruction Only, LPA = Lasting Powers of Attorney )

 

Contact us here to book your online consultation today.

Claims under the inheritance act on the rise

Claims are also granted decades after the deadline

It is a common mistake that people believe that a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 can only be brought within 6 months of the Grant being issued. This is not the case! The actual position is that a claim can be brought at any time (even before Grant) but if the claim is to be issued after 6 months, the courts permission is required first.

Historically, the courts have been slow to grant permission after 6 months (the guidance comes from a case called Re Salmon (1981)) which has led people to mistakenly believe that the 6 months deadline is an absolute cut-off date. This is NOT the case and there have been a number of recent cases which have reached High Court where the permission to issue a claim has been granted many years after the 6 month permission deadline …

Most recently was the case of Bhusate v Patel & Others (2019), where the High Court granted the permission to bring a claim under the Inheritance Act – despite it being issued OVER 25 YEARS after the deadline for doing so.

In brief:

The deceased died in 1990, aged 72 and a claim was issued 25 years and 9 months after the time limit.
The claimant was the third wife of the deceased and had one child together.
The deceased previously had 5 other children from his first wife who sadly passed away in 1971.
The estate (which was comprised of the deceased house) was valued at £135,000 at the time of death, however the current value is in the region of £850,000

This type of situation isn’t uncommon – modern family structures are making inheritance claims increasingly likely. There is no surprise that more claims are made late and there has been a trend of cases which have been brought to High Court long after the time period has elapsed:

Sargeant v Sargeant (2018) – claim granted after 10 years
Lloyd v Ayres (2018) – claim granted after 9 years
Moffat v Moffat (2016) – claim granted after 18 years
Berger v Berger (2013) – claim granted after 6 years

Do these judgements suggest a move towards a more relaxed attitude by the courts to give permission to issue claims long after the 6 month deadline has passed? It appears so. It is important to note that the Courts have complete discretion when deciding whether to give permission to issue an Inheritance Act claim. Many of these claims start with enquiries about greater provision but often then turn to the validity or otherwise of the Will too, which then calls into question the way the Will was prepared and executed.

There is no time limitation for those challenges. Either way, the importance of a robust Will file has never been greater, as a claim can arise at any time, long after the 6 month time frame. Claims are costly and risky for an individuals intended beneficiaries , so other solutions are needed to protect the individuals wishes.

A Will may also not be enough to support and ensure that the individuals intentions are met in full. The reality is that an individuals Will may well be declared invalid if poor notes are kept and the Will is later challenged. The solution is a Will Clarity Statement , it will record all notes and explore and detail the who, the why, the when and the how, within the intended wishes of the individual.

 

U-PLAN can write your Will and offer you and your chosen beneficiaries, the protection of a Will Clarity Statement – contact us here to arrange your free consultation. 

Why a professionally written Will is so important

Everybody knows the importance of having a Will, as this is something that is often highlighted to us, but what isn’t often mentioned is the importance of making sure that Will is properly written and therefore legally binding.

Yet, a Will written incorrectly, or not properly witnessed, could be equal to not having written a Will at all, leaving your loved ones with a legacy of taxes, paperwork and legal bills.

So, what constitutes an incorrectly written Will? There are various details that could invalidate a Will or cause undue additional problems; from something as simple as spelling someone’s name incorrectly and not using their legal name, to a Will whereby the specific wording fails to meet requirements. Whilst you would assume that if you went to a high street solicitor or even purchased a Will writing kit online the wording would be correct, you could be wrong.

“I only have a small inheritance to leave, so will be fine to do my own DIY Will” – often people think this is the case, until they speak to a professional and discover important truths, that there are more complexities and aspects to their estate than they first thought. Not only is there the issue of what you own and choose to leave to your loved ones, but how do you factor in if someone in your Will dies, divorces, re-marries, has more children, step-children…the list goes on.

Re-marriage is just one example of where things can get complicated – if you leave everything to your spouse and their Will states that they then pass everything on to your/their children equally after their death, you might assume that would mean that your spouse and children are looked after? This assumption is where problems can and do exist within inadequately written Wills.

Take this example:

Jennifer’s father dies, after he dies his estate is passed to his wife Barbara (Jennifer’s stepmother), Barbara had written a mirror Will of her husband’s stating that the estate would be passed equally between Jennifer and her own son. However, after the death of Jennifer’s father Barbara remarried, changed her Will and left everything to her son and new step children and nothing to Jennifer. This is perfectly legal, but morally was it the right thing to do and would Jennifer’s father have approved?

By using a legal professional that isn’t necessarily an expert in the field of Will writing, or using a DIY Will Writing Kit, you run the risk of having an invalidated Will, and not just this, even if your Will is perfectly valid, it does not mean you have received the best advice and strategy possible regarding your desired outcomes for you and your loved ones in the future.

 Contact us here and find out how we can help with your Will. 

 

6 out of 10 adults do not have a Will

Thinking about a time when you are no longer around may feel uncomfortable, but failing to plan ahead can risk leaving a serious financial headache and expense for loved-ones who are left behind. New research shows that six in ten adults are taking this risk as they do not have a will. Many think a will is not necessary because they believe family and friends will choose who gets what of any assets – but this is not the case.

When someone dies without a will, rules of ‘intestacy’ kick in – and it falls to the state to determine how an individual’s worldly goods and assets are distributed. These decisions made may not reflect their individual wishes. Unmarried couples have no inheritance rights under this law while the complexity of modern families is not addressed, meaning children from previous marriages could miss out.

Such anomalies are currently under consideration in a review by the Law Commission aiming to structure the will-making process friendlier and more appropriate to modern family arrangements. This is no reason to put off writing a will, individuals and families need to understand the huge benefits of having a will and the even bigger risks of not having one.

Many individuals procrastinate and delay making a will because they believe they are too young or perhaps think they do not have the required financial assets. Other concerns are costs – or not knowing how to go about organising a will. Individuals could argue they do not need a will because they either have little money in the bank or believe death is far off in the future.

However, people need to think about who they want to inherit their belongings, such as their home, car, jewellery and in some instances – their pets. It is so important to put this down in writing, so family and friends can honour all these wishes. The lack of a will can and does, trigger bitter disputes after death and some loved ones can miss out entirely.

Dying without a valid Will can lead to confusion and uncertainty for the families left behind. To improve the chances of your wishes being carried out, it is crucial to put an effective will in place.

Writing a Will is the sort of issue you can keep putting off, but with the certainty that every life will end, it is important to have something in place just in case it happens unexpectedly and before an individual’s average life expectancy is reached.

People with straightforward financial affairs may be tempted to buy a DIY will kit, either off-the-shelf or online for a few pounds. But be wary of taking the DIY option without legal know how. There are numerous legal pitfalls to navigate – and there are risks of things going wrong.

Some of the most common problems with DIY wills include documents being written in ambiguous language; the will not dealing with all the assets and belongings in the estate; and paperwork not being signed correctly. In some instances, this can cause as many problems as having no will at all. If a will is open to misinterpretation, the courts may have to decide what the intentions were. This can prove an arduous – and potentially costly – process for families.

Once a will is written it should not be forgotten. It is worth revisiting the paperwork every few years or after key events – such as marriage, having children or following divorce. Most people might not be aware that divorce and marriage revoke any previous will.  Failure to understand this rule means that children of a first relationship, say, named in the original will, may get far less, or even nothing – to the benefit of a second spouse, which is probably not what the deceased intended.

With all the complexities of modern life and the interchangeable relationships over time between money, assets, family, loved ones and the uncertainty of health issues and accidents – it makes good sense to set up a Will sooner rather than later.

Get in touch with us to see how we can help you set up a Will.