Almost everyone is keen to protect whatever assets they might have accumulated over the course of their lives. They have worked hard and want to make sure that once they are no longer around that their assets are passed on to their chosen beneficiaries for them to enjoy.
Having a Will Allows You to Achieve your Purpose of Protecting your Assets in Six Different Ways
• You choose executors who undertake the responsibility of applying for probate, safeguarding your assets and distributing your estate. Your beneficiaries can be your executors, although in some cases independent executors may be more appropriate.
• You decide exactly who receives what and when. You may leave cash legacies to grandchildren, friends or charity before the rest of your estate is distributed. You may stipulate that beneficiaries should inherit at age 25, rather than the statutory age 18, which most people consider too young.
• If one of your beneficiaries is in the midst of difficult times, such as divorce or bankruptcy, you can protect the funds for their future. You might ringfence their share into Trust to prevent the asset unexpectedly falling into the divorce or bankruptcy pot, if you were to die whilst proceedings were ongoing.
• If you own a business, you might arrange for your business partners to run things whilst probate is being dealt with, or for them to have the option to buy out your interest. Your family can benefit from the payout and not be left having to deal with a business they may know little about.
• If you are married, you can maximise tax efficiency by leaving your assets to your spouse on the first death, so your estate qualifies from spousal exemption. This does not automatically happen without a Will when part of your estate may pass to children which, apart from difficult practical implications, might result in tax being immediately payable.
• If you are unmarried, without a Will, your partner will not be entitled to any of your assets. Estate planning allows you to provide for those who are financially dependent on you, and failure to do so may result in your loved ones resorting to Court applications to secure an interest in your estate. This is costly, time consuming and difficult at an emotionally distressing time.