The Virtual You

What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?  I am willing to bet that you reach for your phone or tablet and check emails and social media even before you make your morning coffee – am I right? These days so much of our lives are lived online- not just our social lives but our financial ones as well. We keep so much information in digital locations – enough that it would be possible for anyone to steal our identity if they so wished. But have you thought about what happens to all of
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Keeping your Will up to date

With 7 billion people in the world and 66 million in the UK you imagine that estate planners would be run off their feet writing Wills but the truth is that it is estimated over half the population of the UK don’t have a valid Will (the researched figure from a recent Royal London study is around 54%). So if you do have a Will, first of all well done – because writing a Will is one of the most important things you can do to control the distribution of your estate and protect your family should the worst happen.
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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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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 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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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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