January is that time of year again when we make New Year resolutions and consider what we should be doing – reviewing last year and planning for the future. Yet on the list of spending more time with the family, going on a diet, giving up smoking and joining the gym, why do many of us not include making a Will when considering our New Year priorities? Most of us appreciate we don’t know what is around the corner, yet it seems that such an important document does not feature high on our list of things to do in our lives.
A Will is the most important documents that many people will ever sign. It ensures that your wishes are carried out when you are no longer around. A Will has the power to appoint guardians for our children under the age of 18, can express your funeral wishes, including any specific music or other personal preferences, it can also make provision for the security of our pets, perhaps most importantly though, it adds certainty to our wishes of who should benefit from our estate. That said, even if you don’t have many assets, a Will is still important as it can outline how your personal effects (including intellectual property and social media accounts) should be handled and by whom. You can also ensure that people you trust are appointed as Executor to your estate; these are the people that will deal with our affairs after our death and take control of administering our estates.
This is a hugely powerful document and incorporates many benefits, such as Inheritance Tax planning, planning for the future needs of our children and ensuring peace of mind that all gifts, big and small, go to those people who we would want them to.
You may have seen in the media recently that there have been recent changes in the way that our estates are taxed upon death. The government has recently introduced a ‘Main Residence Nil Rate Band’, that provides an additional tax-free allowance to persons leaving their property to a direct descendant.
Here at Barnes and Partners, we recognise how important it is that your home and life savings pass to the people you choose. Wills can be complex and unfortunately, too often, online and DIY Wills cut-corners or do not cover all the legal ground they should. We welcome you to telephone our offices and fix a time to meet with a dedicated member of our Wills and Probate Team, to discuss your wishes for your Will. Alternatively, please feel free to visit one of our ten offices and we will be happy to assist you.
We appreciate how difficult it is to keep to those New Year’s resolutions, but protecting your future is actually cheaper than the gym, easier than going on that diet and has a tangible long-term benefit that won’t be undone with over indulgence or slipping off the band-wagon.
We wish all clients old and new a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. Happy 2017!
– Kim Boylett, B&P Solicitors Enfield