Estate planning when you don’t have children

We often talk about the importance of making a Will and planning for the future when you have children, but if you don’t have children it is equally important to ensure your affairs are in order should something happen to you. Some people may believe this is only important if you are wealthy, but everyone should have an estate plan, and here are some of the things you might want to consider.

Why do I need an estate plan?

Just because you don’t have children, it doesn’t mean you won’t want to decide who benefits from your estate should you pass away. This is likely to include family members, friends or charities.

If you don’t have a will in place, you’ll die ‘intestate’, which means the law will determine where your belongings and assets go and that might not be in line with your wishes. It could also mean your estate pays more Inheritance Tax than necessary, benefiting the government rather than the people or charities you care about.

  • Choosing your executor/s – your executor/s will be responsible for ensuring the wishes in your will are carried out and for the winding up of your estate. To find out more about the role of an executor, you can read more here.
  • Deciding who your belongings will go to – you may like to make a list of belongings that you own and decide on specific people to inherit these items from you.
  • Making charitable gifts - you may wish to make charitable gifts in your will which support the charities you feel strongly about. It is also possible to cut the amount of tax you pay by leaving money to charity, so it is worth taking advice from a lawyer, particularly if your estate is worth more than the inheritance tax threshold (currently £325,000 at May 2019).
  • Who will look after your pets - your pets will be an important part of your life and very much part of your family. You can create a gift in your will which leaves your pet/s to a particular person and can also choose to leave a cash gift to cover the cost of caring for your pet/s.

As well as making a will, you should also consider making an LPA, so that if you become unable to make decisions for yourself, there is someone who is able to do so. If you do not have an LPA in place, an application will need to be made to the Court of Protection should you lose capacity. These applications are expensive and often take at least six months, and you will have no control over who is appointed to make decisions on your behalf.

By having a Will and Lasting Power of Attorney in place, you can ensure that your wishes are taken care of in the way which you choose and that inheritance tax is kept to the minimum. To find out more about making a Will or an LPA, please call Hayley Beeching on 023 9244 6912 or email hayley.beeching@verisonalaw.com.


Wills

  • Will drafting
  • Review of existing Wills
  • Advice re provision for children, second families, spouses and civil partners, unmarried partners and other family members
  • Advice re charitable gifts
  • Advice re foreign and business assets
  • Advice re Will trusts
  • Codicils
  • Inheritance Tax advice

Trusts

  • Advice re Trust creation and ongoing management
  • Preparation of trust deeds and other trust documentation
  • Declarations of Trust
  • Termination of trusts

Probate and Administration of Estates

  • Advice re the terms of the Will or intestacy rules where there is no Will
  • Obtaining values for the various assets and liabilities in the estate, notifying the various institutions and obtaining all necessary estate information
  • Obtaining a grant of probate or letters of administration as appropriate
  • Dealing with and advice re Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Income Tax, liaising with HMRC
  • Notifying and liaising with the beneficiaries of the estate
  • Preparing a deed of variation or a deed of disclaimer in relation to the estate
  • Selling or transferring the various assets due to the beneficiaries
  • Dealing with foreign assets and Wills
  • Advice re estate disputes and claims against an estate

“If it had not been for the EPA I would have had real problems even discussing my mother’s affairs with banks, investment companies, government departments and care providers, much less paying her bills from her account.

“Being able to supply copies of the EPA to the various parties meant they would speak to me and act on my instructions. Without it I would have had to pursue a long, complicated and expensive legal process – at a very difficult time personally.

“I would absolutely recommend planning ahead and making an LPA. It could make a huge difference to your loved ones.”

Paul

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Anonymous


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