This can be as straightforward as a single Will through to a full suite of legal deeds, all of which ensure the certainty of your assets passing on to spouses and children.
A Will is a set of instructions that deals with your children & your assets when you die. If you own a house or you have children, then you need a Will.
It is important to understand what your estate comprises and how that estate is subject to various other laws. You may be surprised to know that matters concerning inheritance and tax are not necessarily as many clients suppose; married & cohabiting partners are treated differently, for example, as are children from different unions.
It is critically important to have a Will drafted and have it drafted correctly. A poorly drafted Will can also cost your children a considerable tax bill, payable to the taxman before they inherit your estate. You must also attest it correctly, or the Will shall be deemed not to exist.
You can opt for a basic Will if your distribution is very simple. Most people require an advanced Will because their circumstances are more complex.
Will trusts are the legal elements which distinguish a basic Will from an advanced Will.
Will trusts are the way in which inheritance is deferred, or delayed, for somebody after your death. They are also known as testamentary trusts.
Will trusts are different from trusts made in a person’s lifetime, such as asset protection trusts, or pilot trusts, because they are activated upon your death. This means you can keep or own something yourself right up until you die, at which time the trust holds it. The trust holds it until the condition of the trust is met.
Most commonly, Will trusts are used to protect an asset such as the home, for which we use Protected Property Trusts; or to defer a child’s inheritance through a Discretionary Children’s Trust until such time as they are financially responsible.
You can have as many Will trusts in your Will as you wish. It is common to have a trust for each property you own and one for disposable liquid assets, such as cash savings.
Life Insurance Trusts are trusts which specifically deal with your life insurance policy payment. When paid into an estate, payments can attract inheritance tax and are delayed until the probate process is complete.
Directed into a Life Insurance Trust the payments are currently free of inheritance tax and, sitting outside of an estate, the payment is available immediately to partners, spouses, children or other beneficiaries.
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) are deeds which allow a spouse or other trusted third party to manage you and your affairs when you are incapacitated.
Incapacity can come through any manner of means, most commonly accident, alcohol, depression or the degenerative diseases in the dementia range such as Alzheimer’s.
The problem is that there is no simple way to determine who looks after the house, the money or the care of that afflicted individual once a diagnosis has been made. The law provides that the default responsibility lies with the local authority via the Court of Protection. This is a cumbersome process, fraught with delay & cost at an extremely difficult time. This may be avoided by the preparation of Lasting Powers of Attorney.
The LPA take the form of two separate deeds. The first is Property & Financial Affairs which gives your attorney responsibility over your assets and liabilities including your home, your accounts and even your bills.
The second is Health & Welfare which allows your attorney to make important medical decisions on your behalf, from where you will reside, through to actual treatment.
Advoco Wills can assist you with all of the above legal documents. While these are the most common estate planning elements, we are also able to assist with a full range of more advanced estate solutions.
Please contact us for details.