In recent years there has been an increase in the number of claims brought against executors by beneficiaries. Coupled with increased financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it is vital that executors understand their duties and obligations to avoid claims. In this article, we set out what is required of executors, and
Make or update your Will during November and help provide care for local people.
This year the team is supporting Royal United Hospitals Bath (RUH) with the Forever Friends Appeal. If you’ve put off writing or updating your Will, this offers you the opportunity to use the professional Will writing services of local solicitors at a reduced cost, which will then be donated back to the charity for the benefit of patients at the Royal United Hospital.
With the Forever Friends Appeal, everyone benefits. You get a professionally drawn-up Will and peace of mind, while the charity receives much-needed donations for their vital work. We have limited spaces and as you can imagine these go fast. Find out more about the appeal by visiting the Charities website here
Planning for the future is so important so Valerie King, Senior Chartered Legal Executive at Farnfields has written an article that brings the importance into focus
If you have not made a will maybe you should consider doing so. If you have already made a will, it is a good idea to review it regularly to take account of changes in family or individual circumstances and changes in the law. You may want to consider the ways possible care costs may affect your estate. Those who run a business may want to consider what they want to happen to it when they are no longer able to oversee the day to day operations and future development.
Whatever, your age, it is never too early to make provision for yourself in later years or for your family when you pass away. Peace of mind knowing you have considered all eventualities is hard to place a value on. Our helpful guide highlights the most important things to consider.
1. Make a will (or review the one you already have)
A will sets out what should happen to your money, possessions and property (collectively known as your estate) after you die. Without a will, the law decides how your estate passes and what you might want to happen after you pass away might not be what happens should you not have a will.
If you do not yet have a will, a qualified legal professional should be your first port of call. They will have experience in drafting valid wills that stand the test of time. They will also be able to look at your personal circumstances, whether straightforward or more complex and write a will that is right for you.
If you have a will, consider when you last updated it. Wills should be reviewed every five years and when any major life events occur. Have any grandchildren been born since you wrote your will? Have you started supporting any charities that are close to your heart? A will review is a simple process that ensures you have the opportunity to reflect on whether the provisions you have in place still work for you.
2. Care Home Fees
Care home fees are often one of the most important considerations for people when they embark on lifetime planning. It is very common for married couples and civil partners to have a will leaving everything to each other, their children or other beneficiaries. However, if the surviving spouse or civil partner has to go into care, their beneficiaries could, in fact, receive very little of their estate.
Unless a person is eligible for NHS Continuing Care, they will have to use their own monies for care home fees until their estate is reduced to just £23,250 at present when they can be assessed for Social Services contributions to costs. The value of their house may be taken into account during the means-assessment process.
You can take action now to attempt to protect at least part of the capital of your home for your beneficiaries. As long as both parties to the marriage or civil partnership are alive and have sufficient mental capacity, a will can be prepared to incorporate a life interest trust whereby your respective shares of the home are left to your beneficiaries, subject to your surviving spouse or civil partner having the use of it for their lifetime.
Thus, the capital of that half-share would not be taken into account in a means-test calculation for contributions to care home fees. There is no need to worry that your surviving spouse or civil partner is tied to one particular house forever as the will includes provisions enabling it to be sold and the money reinvested into another property if needed.
3. Make Lasting Powers of Attorney
There are two types of lasting power of attorney (LPA). One deals with your property and financial affairs, the other deals with your health and welfare. They are detailed documents where you can specify any preferences or instructions you have for your attorney(s) and should they need to, will help the people making decisions on your behalf.
Many people choose to create an LPA to provide protection should they be unable to make their own decisions in the future. Creating a power of attorney is an excellent way to ensure that your wishes will be respected in the future if you should ever be in a position due to illness or injury where you are unable to make your own decisions.
4. Future proof your business
If you own a family business, have you given thought to succession planning? Succession planning within family businesses can help your family avoid complicated legal problems during an already difficult time. Consulting a legal professional with experience in succession planning can also ensure the assets of your business pass amongst the family in the most tax-efficient manner.
An experienced legal professional will also be able to advise on the advantages and disadvantages of moving assets to younger generations and further able to advise on secure ways in which business assets can pass to younger generations.
Farnfields Peace of Mind Action Plan
- Talk to a qualified legal professional about your will and powers of attorney.
- Think about who you would appoint as your attorney to make decisions about your wellbeing and affairs on your behalf.
- Consider whether there are any other relevant issues. Do you run a business, or perhaps you own animals that will need looking after? All eventualities can be planned for with careful consideration and expert advice.
- Ensure your executors know what they need to deal with and any of your specific wishes.