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“It’s taken me 20 years but I am finally getting round to making my Will”.

It may come as a surprise but comments like this from clients are quite common. Big life events like owning a home or having children can prompt thoughts or stimulate discussion, but it can require another leap to actually seeing your solicitor to sort it out.

If this sounds like you then why not make 2019 the year you finally make true your New Year’s Resolutions and do some serious estate planning. And don’t stop with the Will, here are a few top tips for getting your estate planning on track:

  • Make a Will. Think about what will happen to your Estate when you are no longer here, who you would like to deal with the administration and, if you have young children, who will be their guardians?
  • Make a Lasting Power of Attorney. There are two types: Property & Financial Affairs and Health & Welfare. You can appoint Attorneys to step into your shoes to manage your affairs. Even if you have mental capacity the Property & Financial Affairs LPA can be useful if you plan to be away for a long period and what someone else to look after your finances or business interests.
  • Consider Inheritance Tax. Inheritance Tax made headlines in 2017 with the introduction of the “residential” nil rate band allowance, that is set to benefit spouses with a £1 million nil rate band by 2020. But the rules for this very helpful allowance are complex and do not apply in all cases.
  • Create a Trust. A trust is created when you give assets to people you choose (the trustees) to hold for the benefit of others (the beneficiaries). It can be set up during your lifetime (by using a trust deed) or upon death (by inclusion in your Will) and can be used as a practical tool for inheritance tax planning and asset protection.
  • Property co-ownership. Joint property owners often make a “Declaration of Trust” to clearly set out how the sale proceeds are split in the event of a sale. Such a document can be crucial where co-owners contribute unequal amounts to the purchase price.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.