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The New Year – time to get your affairs in order…

And what better way to start than putting your Will in place. Recent research suggests that 58% of adults have not made a Will.

And what better way to start than putting your Will in place. Recent research suggests that 58% of adults have not made a Will.

However difficult it can be to talk about death and making a Will, what can be much worse is dying without one. In addition to the potential for increased distress and administrative burdens on your loved ones, the Intestacy Rules  will apply  and the people you want to benefit might miss out.

Here are just a few reasons why you should put a Will in place:

Cohabiting families

According to the Office for National Statistics there are now 3.2 million cohabiting families in the UK, up from 1.5 million in 2005. For these families the Intestacy Rules provide no protection; if a cohabitee dies without a Will their partner will not benefit from their estate.

It is vital that those 3.2 million families have Wills in place to ensure that their loved ones are provided for.

Help to reduce the Inheritance Tax Payable (IHT)

A Will can reduce the amount of IHT payable on your death, ensuring your lifetime’s hard work is passed on to your children, your chosen beneficiaries etc. and not the Tax Man.

If you are concerned about your IHT exposure then it is important that you speak to a solicitor who will be able to ensure that the right Will structure is in place for you.

Business owners

Those who own businesses must make sure that a Will contains the appropriate provisions. For instance, will the business continue without you? Who would you want to run it? Should it be sold and the assets distributed to your loved ones?

All of these questions can be dealt with in your Will reducing the stress and upset when the time comes.

A change of circumstances

It is vital that you put in place a Will, or review your Will if you have already made one, if you are:

  1. Getting Married – marriage automatically revokes a Will;
  2. Getting Divorced – who is to benefit from your estate if you were to pass away before or after a divorce is finalised?;
  3. Starting a family – If you are expecting or have children under the age of 18 it is important to make sure your choice of Guardian is in place. For those who already have a Will, don’t forget to review it every few years in any event, to make sure it still fits your circumstances.

Speak to a Wills expert who can help you consider your options and assist in putting arrangements in place. It does not have to be complicated or expensive, and should be the one task on your ‘To Do List’ that is completed early in the New Year.