In consideration of looking after your Will

Congratulations! You have planned your estate and written your Will, so where should you keep it? Most people will just file the documents away and hope that a) someone will find them on the occasion of their death and that b) they are not lost in a fire/flood. To ensure the safety of your documents, why not use secure Will storage? When considering Will storage there are two main factors that you need to consider: 1. How secure your documents are; and 2. How easy they are to access in an emergency Of course, there are a number of options
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A FLIT based Fairy Story

If you are on your second marriage with children from a previous relationship then I have a story for you… Once Upon a Time in a Land Far Far Away Cinderella and Snow White waited with trepidation as they watched their father marry the wicked step mother (I mean deep down she was a lovely woman and ultimately, they had a strong and happy relationship but that kind of ruins my story). As time went by the King started to think about the future- his future, his mortality and the future of his wife and daughters. As princesses both Cinders
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Funeral costs are on the up…

Talking to our families about death and funerals is always emotional.  But as money expert Martyn Lewis says – this is just because they love us. There are 2 reasons why we should all plan our funerals in advance: With funeral costs rising far in excess of the annual rate of inflation and almost 10 times faster than the cost of living (according to the Sun Life cost of dying report 2016) it is an unfortunate fact that, for many families, budgeting for a funeral by traditional means may not be sufficient to cover the cost. Planning a funeral in
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Can You Disinherit Your Children?

You might have heard about the case of Heather Ilot, who was awarded £164,000 from her mother’s estate after a decade of court battles even though the mother had written her out of her Will. There was much debate about this case in the news in July 2015 when the final decision was made that this could be the end of testamentary freedom, i.e. the freedom to choose who your money goes to after your death. This is not the case. In this specific case, there were particular circumstances that led to the money being awarded to the daughter by
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Getting Married? What Happens to Your Will? – The “In Contemplation of Marriage” Clause

You have made your Will and have decided how much each of your children will receive in the event of your death and have also favourably considered a few friends and some charitable causes. And then you decide to get remarried. What happens to your Will? The general rule is, that when you get married your Will becomes invalid. This means that should you die you are intestate, i.e. without a Will and only the rules set out by the government will apply to your estate. These rules are very strict and will only pass your assets on to blood
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Planning on Setting Up Lasting Powers of Attorney? There are New Forms

In a previous article we have discussed why someone would want to set up Lasting Powers of Attorney as well as a few basic types of LPAs. (What is a Lasting Power of Attorney and why do I need one). We have also discussed the importance of LPAs for Business in the article Business Lasting Powers of Attorney – could your business run without you? In July 2015, the Office of the Public Guardian, who deal with Lasting Powers of Attorney, introduced new forms to replace the existing forms, which were seen as difficult to use. The old forms could
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Flexible Life Interest Trust – An Ideal Solution for Blended Families

A Flexible Life Interest Trust is very useful for blended families, where the testator is concerned about their partner leaving assets to future children or step-children after their death. It can also be used to potentially reduce inheritance tax. As it is New Year and we all need cheering up – here is a fairy story to illustrate my point: Snow White’s father (Mr White?) realises he made a mistake by marrying his second wife. He wants her to be comfortable after his death, but does not want her to inherit his £5million estate. In his Will, he places all
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Charles Dickens’ Will and Funeral Plan – His Final Plot

Death is said to be the great leveller – even when it comes to the paperwork. The private life of Charles Dickens would have made the perfect plot for one of his own stories. His novels made him famous around the world, and he created some of the greatest characters of all time – including one of the most familiar fictional Christmas characters – Ebenezer Scrooge. Dickens died aged 58 in 1869, a very wealthy man – his estate worth the equivalent of £50 million pounds today. He left money to all 9 of his surviving children. He then writes
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What if a Beneficiary Doesn’t Want His Share? – Consider a Post Death Variation of a Will

If you have ever wondered whether you have to accept something that has been left to you in a Will, the answer is no, you don’t. You can use a tool call a Deed of Variation. A variation can be used to pass on property, cash, stocks/shares or a beneficial interest in a trust. A Deed of Variation is a document that is set up by a beneficiary if they want to pass on their share of the inheritance to someone else. This can either be another named party in the Will, or someone completely different. There are different reasons
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What happens to your business when you’re gone? – Business Succession Planning

At the beginning of 2015 there were an estimated 5.3 million small or medium sized businesses in the UK. It is therefore very important that business owners create an effective Business Succession Plan to protect their business and decide what happens to their business in the event of their death or should they no longer be able to manage their own affairs. Business Wills For business owners a simple Will is probably not sufficient. In that case, a more comprehensive Business Will is more appropriate in dealing with their specific business assets. A business owner may wish to appoint separate
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What Happens When You Die Without a Will

Dying without a Will, also known as intestacy, can be a difficult and costly process. Your Will is a legally binding document and making a Will ensures that you control where your assets go when you die. Without a Will, the courts have to be involved and this is lengthy as well as costly. The Society of Will Writers, of which I am a member have put together this useful flowchart which illustrates very clearly what happens in the event of a person dying without a Will. ˇ The term “children” includes illegitimate and adopted children, but not step-children. °
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The Protective Property Trust – Protect your assets for your children

Imagine the following family situation: Fred and Wilma, a happily married couple, one daughter, Pebbles. They want to make mirror Wills leaving all to their daughter Pebbles when they die. However, I point out to them that, if Fred dies young, Wilma could fall in love with (say) Barney, who has a son Bam Bam. She could change her Will to dilute Pebbles’ share. A similar situation could arise if Wilma died young. What would be the solution? A Protective Property Trust. Here is how it works A Protective Property Trust is a Trust that is put into the Wills of a couple so
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Bizarre Requests from Beyond the Grave

Most of us want to leave our assets to our children and other loved ones and in most cases these consist of a house (with contents), some money, maybe some jewellery, pictures or works of art. But there are some people who take “leaving things to your loved ones” to a whole new level. Here is a selection of some of the strangest bequests I have come across while doing some research on the topic. Marie Curie – When she died in 1934, a gram of pure radium, originally received as a gift from the women of America, was her
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Business Lasting Powers of Attorney – could your business run without you?

Are you a freelancer, sole trader or small business owner? If yes, have you thought about what would happen if you were suddenly not able to make decisions for the day-to-day running of your business, say through accident or severe illness? Many small business owners believe that their spouse or employees could simply take over until the crisis has passed but without a Lasting Power of Attorney in place this would not be possible. A Business Lasting Power of Attorney or Business LPA is a legal document in which you can nominate between 1 and 4 people to have the
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Who will raise your children if you die before they are 18?

Have you ever considered who will look after your children if you die while they’re still under age? Who will make sure they are raised the way you would wish and only has their best interests at heart? Many people don’t want to think about these issues as they are considered morbid and negative thinking. But it is really important to be prepared should the worst happen. It is not enough to simply make the decision and discuss it with your family. You need to make it legally binding by including it in your Will. Should you die without a
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