Guest PostIt is recommended that everyone have a will drawn up to govern their assets in the event of their death. Whilst few people want to consider their own mortality, a will is an important tool used to protect grieving family members from having to manage the complex legal issues surrounding your estate after you have passed away.
Although wills can be made independently, the greatest security is offered through making a will with an experienced solicitor. Ask family and friends for firms they have previously used, or look to companies with solid local representation such as Breens Solicitors.
When people die without a will, they are said to have died ‘intestate’ and as such, a wide range of very strict rules are applied to their assets. The first of these is the appointment of an executor to the estate, who oversees the distribution of wealth. During the process of writing a will, parties are able to choose your own executor. If someone is to die intestate, they no longer have this choice.
Moreover, laws for the deceased person’s accounts mean that only the first £325,000 of their assets are tax free. In some cases, this can mean that the family left behind must deal with a substantial tax bill. If two parties are cohabiting but unmarried, there is no tax relief at all.
In these instances, it can be wise to establish a trust. This means that the estate is transferred to a trust manager – or trustee – whilst the estate owner is still living, and they are then in a position to handle the estate after the bereavement. In these cases, the assets of the deceased do not need to pass through the probate system which is involved in executing a will. In some cases, establishing a trust can bring enormous tax savings for descendants who would otherwise need to meet substantial inheritance tax bills.
Provisions for children are also made in the will. This means that the guardianship of any minor is appointed to a named individual. If someone dies intestate, it is left to the courts to determine the most appropriate guardian for any remaining children. Of particular note is the fact that if two parents are not married, guardianship will not automatically pass to the surviving parent. It can be important to provide for this in the will, which is a legally binding document and would ensure the children remained with their living parent.