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Death & Taxes - it happens to us all
And what's more, you’ve worked hard for what you have and you've certainly paid more than enough tax, too.
So surely it's your absolute right that it is you who gets to decide where your wealth and estate goes after you die? The government and politicians should have absolutely no say whatsoever, right?
Of course that's right - however...
... two thirds of UK adults have not written a Will. Nor have 70% with children under 18!
Incredible as it seems, this is actually true!
If you die without a Will, you could easily find:
- The government is automatically entitled to up to 40% of your estate.
- Or your property is handed to the ‘wrong’ people such as an ex spouse.
- Your loved ones could end up in expensive legal disputes that could destroy everything that you've worked your entire life for.
- The people that you've loved and cherished could end up with nothing at all.
Now, the reality is that talking about death is not exactly the happiest conversation you'll have, but as hard as it may be, just consider what could happen to those you love most if you don’t.
Put this off, and the law decides what happens to your money.
And it’s highly unlikely the law will carry out your wishes
If you die without a Will, you’re known as ‘Intestate’.
This means that your money, your property, your assets are all handed out according to a dated Government standard, which bears no relation to modern family makeups.
“The laws of intestacy are there to protect individuals, but only cover a certain range of scenarios,” says Lucy Brennan, a partner at Saffery Champness. “For example, cohabitees, and those that are divorced with children from different marriages can be hugely affected.”
To give you a few examples of what could happen without a Will.
- David and his partner Claire have been together 30 happy years. Margaret’s first husband, Stephen, left her 40 years ago and she hasn’t seen him since. If Margaret dies, Stephen gets the bulk – if not all – of her wealth. David gets nothing.
- Mark has 2 children and 1 step-child who he’s raised and loved as his own. If Mark were to die, his 2 children would receive their shares – split evenly. His step-child gets nothing.
- Alan, an elderly man, has no known relatives. However, his neighbours have loved and cared for him in old age. They’ve become a new family to him. When Alan dies, none of them receive a penny. Everything he owns is seized by the Government.
These are just 3 potential problems and the reality is that there are countless other possibilities, because every situation is unique.
Quite simply, the Government do not consider your personal relationships after you die. The rules are black and white. Sometimes leaving those you love and care for most with nothing.
Even if your situation is relatively standard you still need a Will.
Why? To keep your tax liabilities to an absolute minimum
For example, you can pass as much money as you like to a spouse or civil partner. All without paying a penny of tax.
But that's not all ...
Gifts of up to £3000-a-year can be handed to your children while you or your spouse are alive. Again, tax free.
However, without a will, your spouse would likely get your first £250,000 worth of assets. Plus 50% of what’s left.
The other 50% would be split evenly between your children. Or other members of your family. And this is all heavily taxed.
In the past few years, there have been several high-profile celebrity deaths where Wills have either not existed, or not be drawn up professionally and the disputes and anguish that have arisen has torn families apart.
Let's take the late comedian Rik Mayall’s family.
Mayall died without a will and assets totaling £1.2 million. Hundreds of thousands were exposed to a 40% tax hit.
Perhaps you’re thinking “I’m not Rik Mayall. I don’t have that much money.”
But consider the rising value of your assets. Particularly your property.
“The result is that more and more people will be exposed to tax they never thought would impact them,” says Laith Khalaf of Hargreaves Lansdown.
You need a professionally-written Will to keep this to an absolute minimum.
So what are your options?
First, obviously, you could do nothing and then let the Government decide what happens to your money, after they've taken their share of course! And then you'd be placing your family’s well being in their hands...and of course, we all know that governments have our individual best interests at heart 😉
But let's be realistic, this isn't really the best option for you and the chances are too high that you will be leaving those you love most in the worst possible financial situation imaginable.
Secondly, you could hire a solicitor to do it.
But being completely honest, have you ever been a poor solicitor? And on top of that, have you ever known a solicitor to work at anything other than a snail's pace ... after all, time is money!
Third Option, you could use a DIY will kit off the internet or from your local shop
They are certainly cheap, but they don't provide you with any flexibility, extended protection or defence against post-death disputes.
As the saying goes, "buy cheap, buy twice" .. but in this case, you won't be able to because you'll be dead!
The absolute smallest mistake in a DIY will could very easily render it completely and utterly useless and your Will could be disregarded entirely.
And if your family wished to challenge it, they may find the legal fees aren’t worth the risk.
Thankfully, there is one other option. A way to get a fast, affordable Will professionally-written to your exact circumstances.
What’s more, getting started is effortless:
Provide your name and email in the form below and one of our experienced, professionally trained consultants will contact you to arrange a home visit to discuss your exact requirements.
If you like what the consultant has to say, then simply ask them to create your safe, legally secure and defendable Will.
Our prices are significantly cheaper than a local solicitor and what's more, unlike a solicitor who deals with a multitude of legal issues, our consultants are specialists in estate planning and drafting Wills - that is their sole focus.
Our consultants also undergo continued professional development, meaning that they are fully aware of all planned and current changes in estate planning legislation.
So, What's Your Next Step?
Well, you could, of course do absolutely nothing and leave everything to fate...
...you could complete our contact form below and let one of our specialists discuss with you, in person, your specific situation and wishes and then you can relax knowing your family are protected. No matter what happens.