Modern Family Arrangements – There are more than 130,000 divorces every year in England and Wales. This means that many people move onto to second or third marriages and can end up with a large number of relatives to consider when making a will.
Increases in house prices over the years often provide for substantial estates.
Given the increased complexity of the modern family and the value of estates, it is understandable that more and more wills are being contested.
There is a suggestion from parts of the legal fraternity that it is best to incorporate a trust within a will to provide for certainty. We disagree. We believe that it is far better to draft both a will and separate (but linked) trusts for each of your chosen beneficiaries.
Now you are probably thinking that sounds a lot more costly than drafting a will.
That depends where you choose “cost” to fall. Let me explain, a will can be an exceptionally toxic instrument and can cost your beneficiaries untold grief and heartache if they feel wronged. A poor worded arrangement can provide for extreme emotional distress.
This is why so many wronged beneficiaries take to the courts, regardless of the expense and will take legal action even if it decimates the value of their “inheritance”.
So that is why we always advice clients to draft wills and separate trusts, as this combination is the most secure way to provide bloodline protection of assets, so that your assets go to your children not someone else’s.
If you own property abroad, then you always write an additional will in that country, you should ensure that your wills do not conflict with each other.
There is a danger that “forced heirship” rules apply in some countries. That means that regardless of your wishes – all or a major proportion of your foreign property may be required to pass to certain direct descendants.
If the property is in the European Union: –
- The default position is that succession of assets on death will be governed by the law of the country in which the deceased is a resident.*
- These rules apply to estates of individuals dying after 17 August 2015* and the application of them is not always straight forward.
- You may however, be able to choose to have the law of your nationality applied to the estate, [ref EU Succession regulations / Brussells IV].
Lasting Powers of Attorney
Prevailing opinion is that everyone over the age of 55 should be advised to draft Lasting powers of Attorney. A lasting power of attorney provides that someone you trust can assist you to make decisions, or if you are incapable to make decisions for your benefit.
We would suggest that whatever your age, providing you have a reasonable level of assets then drafting Lasting Powers of Attorney is the next step to take after you have taken care to execute your wills and trusts.
If you require more information on Lasting Powers of Attorney, then check out my previous blog. .
Whatever your circumstances, do take advice before you draft your wills and trusts.
Our associated company provides a complete advisory service from checking existing wills, to drafting wills and trusts and providing advice on Inheritance Tax.
There is no charge for an initial discussion, to make arrangements CLICK HERE