UnaVida | When did you last look at your will?

When did you last look at your will?

As many as 67% of High Net Worth individuals cite succession and inheritance issues as a risk to wealth creation and preservation. Despite all the recent high profile publicity regarding disputed estates, very few families have bothered to seek meaningful advice about how to leave their assets in a fair and equitable and tax efficient manner.

Astonishingly records indicate that within two generations up to 80% of inherited wealth will be dissipated by either taxation or social impact.

Yet almost all the emotional pain and financial loss could (with advanced planning) be avoided.

In the past, only the wealthy have used trusts to protect their assets and provide for certainty for succession. More recently the cost of establishing trusts has fallen to an affordable level, so that even people with modest wealth can protect their bloodline succession.

Many individuals recall drafting a will years before, putting it in a “safe place”, and then sitting back and breathing a sigh of relief that it has been dealt with. Having a will is one thing; having a suitable and updated and meaningful will is quite another.

Many individuals have free “testamentary disposition”, which means they can leave their assets to Whomever they wish on their death. However, “forced heirship” provisions can apply to some estates and this should be factored in.

Likewise, religious beliefs may also play a part in the succession of an individual’s estate, such as the application of Sharia law to Islamic testators.

The introduction of the EU Succession Regulation provides many individuals with the opportunity to avoid forced heirship provisions applying to their estate. Wills should be reviewed to ensure that they consider the application of forced heirship.

These factors should be considered in advance and accounted for as part of the individual’s succession planning to avoid unexpected challenges.

A client was referred to us recently as she thought she was going to inherit a substantial property in Spain, but instead was informed that under Spanish law the bulk of the property would be passed to her husband’s sons. The local “abrigado” had failed to notify her of her rights under EU succession law.

Having appropriate advice for drafting wills and trusts is the essential building block of succession planning and wealth preservation.

If you have an existing will that is more than 2 years old, chances are it is out of date.

It costs nothing to obtain a second opinion, so for new wills or old, do contact us.

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A pension is a long-term investment that typically cannot be accessed until age 55 (57 from April 2028). The level of pension benefits offered could change depending on the value of your investments (and any income they may generate).

The interest rates in effect at the time you begin receiving benefits may also have an impact on your pension income. The tax consequences of pension withdrawals will depend on your unique situation. In later Finance Acts, tax rates, tax bases, and tax relief may change.

The opinions expressed by Ray Best are meant to inform and educate. Before making any investment decisions always take advice that is pertinent to your investment personality and financial situation.

You are aware that past performance will not necessarily be repeated in the future, but you should be aware that persistent poor performance invariably will.

The value of an investment and the income from it could go down as well as up.

The return at the end of the investment period is not guaranteed and you may get back less than you originally invested.

UnaVida Wealth Management Ltd. is directly authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (440577).

The guidance in this website is primarily aimed at a UK audience and is subject to regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax planning, estate planning, or wills and any form of legal documentation.