Why do I need a last will and testament?

The answer to the question: “why do I need a last will and testament?” may be as broad as: “because there are people I want to care for when I die”. The implications of failing to consider the question, however, maybe complex and far reaching.

  • To ensure your estate passes to those you care most about.
  • To mitigate financial risks from tax or care fees.
  • To reduce conflict and ensure your children are cared for by trusted parties.

Making a will is something that nobody wants to think about yet the lack of one, when the time comes, can be catastrophic! Without one, people expose themselves, unnecessarily, to risks including (but not limited to): assets passing to the wrong people (or even the Crown), their children entering care (in situations where no guardian has been appointed), residential care fee payment, unnecessary taxation and ultimately failure to look after their loved ones.

It is often only in a moment of crisis (will writing enquiries more than doubled in periods during the Covid crisis) that people are moved to act, this may be too late. It’s thought that around thirty million people in the UK lack an up-to-date document. I urge you to act now to protect those you love.

 

Why do I need a last will and testament? Consider the numbers!

40% is the current UK Inheritance Tax rate, payable on death. Exemptions (more accurately nil rate bandings) are not applied automatically, are directly affected by the manner in which gifts are given in a will and may be significantly impaired in the absence of a properly drafted document.

£41,600 is the average annual cost of nursing home care, payable in life. Simple and inexpensive changes to a will, can protect your property from seizure by local authorities for payment of care fees. Similar mechanisms can be used to prevent your property’s being lost to a new family, should your partner or spouse remarry after death.

£48 million was seized by the Crown under intestacy rules last year. If there is no will, intestacy law applies, seeking to distribute your estate amongst family members. Such law includes a comparatively narrow group of direct relations. If none can be identified, assets may pass to the Crown.

£150,000 is the average cost of a court challenge to a will and 8,000 people attempted to block a will in 2019. The reality is that people are becoming increasingly litigious when they feel poorly treated by a will. Challenges tend to surge in times of economic hardship such as recessions. Proper advice can greatly reduce the risk of challenge.

Something that is perhaps overlooked when considering the impact of lack of a will, is the potential for conflict to arise in its absence. I hold that around half of the benefits of having a will relate to its capacity to reduce friction between those who love you after you pass.

No-one feels ‘normal’ when recently bereaved and yet it is often onto the most bewildered and dislocated, that the administrative burden of distributing property falls. Should argument erupt over who should receive certain (often comparatively low value) items, antagonists tend to view one another as almost infinitely ‘small minded’ in the context of their recent loss. I’ve known families to fracture over items as trivial as a clock or some jewellery.

If you have nothing in place, I encourage you to get in touch for a no obligation conversation. You’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain. Book now at www.confidencewills.co.uk