January – New You, New Will

It is getting colder now, and next week it’s December! This results in the annual panic of Christmas shopping, and working out whose coming to Christmas Lunch.

Whilst I don’t usually advocate people putting matters off. I suggest that now is the time to think about Christmas. January however is the start of a new year, the perfect time to get organised and take on those things that have been on the back burner for so long. (Nobody really wants to think about their mortality and put a Will and Lasting Power of Attorney in place!)

So whilst I would wish you a great Christmas. January can be the start not just of the New Year, but the time when you deal with all the things that you have been putting off!

Revising your Will: Have you been putting it off?

Whilst you may have had some time off, now it’s time to sort things out at work and think of plans of what you will be doing for the next few weeks.

I always say if you are sorting things out at work, you should also sort things out in your personal life too! Lets’ be positive and do all the things you have been putting off! In sorting in out matters why not consider my list below?

• Have you sorted out your Will?
• If you did your Will a long time ago do you know what it means?
• When is the last time you had a look at your Will?

If your Will was done years ago and a copy is languishing in a dusty draw may I suggest the following: That you take it out of the draw and take a look at it!!

If you find out that your Will:
a) Refers to people who have died
b) Mentions your ex-husband/wife
c) Appoints Guardians for your children who are now teenagers
d) Appoints Executors you have not seen in years

Its time you did a new Will! If your life has really changed completely since you did your Will, it may even be invalid without you knowing it!

Call me on 01483 564833 to discuss how easy and pain free doing a new up to date Will can be!

Holidays – a great time to think!

Going on holiday is great (barring the stress of getting to and from your destination), and holidays are sometimes the only time you have to think about things.

With that in mind please consider what would happen if something happened to you! Is everything organised so your spouse and children are cared for the way you would want?

If the answer is NO to this question, call me to discuss how everything can be put into place to give you and your family the Peace of Mind you would want!

Whether you have thought about getting your arrangements in order before you fly off into the sun, or during your annual holiday. Please give me a call so that we can start the process of ensuring that you have that Peace of Mind you crave.

Being Insured

Not only do I give my clients Peace of Mind when they put in place documents to protect their family. I also pride myself on having Professional Indemnity Insurance with one of the best providers there is.

The reason that I am blogging today on what some may call a very boring subject is that a client of mine recently asked if I was insured. My client was concerned to ensure that I am fully insured, should something go wrong. I could of course reassure my client that all was in order.

With so many cowboys out there, it pays to ask and I am pleased that my client did! I am also a member of various professional bodies, which I believe is also essential.

Why do I need to make a Will? My family will get it anyway!

Many people say this to me, why should I make a Will? It will all go to my family anyway! This statement confirms the complete misunderstanding of many members of the public.

On death if there is no Will in place a person’s Estate will NOT NECESSARILY go to their family. If there is NO WILL an Estate will devolve in accordance with the Intestacy Rules.

Examples of situations of how the Intestacy Rules work include:
Even if part way through a divorce your soon to be exspouse could inherit!
If married with children your Estate will NOT go absolutely to your spouse!
Your Estate could go to family members you have not seen in years!
If unmarried your partner will have to make a claim against your Estate under the Inheritance Provision for Family & Dependents Act 1975!

To avoid all these and many more problems, the simple answer is to MAKE A WILL. In a validly drawn Will you can ensure:
Your wife/partner is protected!
Your children (even if not from your current relationship) are protected!
Your Estate will go to who you want it to go to!

Contact us to arrange an appointment when we can take your instructions and put in place a Will that will give you Peace of Mind and protect your family.

The Holidays are over!

Now the Summer holidays are nearly over and it’s back to work and school for many. It is the time when new school uniforms are being bought, you are thinking of that new project at work.

As this time of year everyone is more business minded I think everyone should ask themselves the following questions:

Have I got my Will up to date? (Although with 60% of the population the question will be: It’s about time I put a Will in place!)

Have I got everything organised so that if anything happened to me my wife/husband is protected?

As I have assets in my sole name, should I put in place a Power of Attorney so that my wife/husband can deal with my affairs if necessary?

ALL of these questions have a solution, so ask yourself the question: WHY AM I NOT DOING IT!!

If you want to ensure that your family is protected now and into the future give me a call now. Don’t leave it too late and have your family ask WHY DID MY PARENTS NOT SORT THIS OUT!

Wills – Are you on holiday soon?

Yes, the school holidays are around the corner. As the UK Summer looks like it will be a wash out, many of you will be opting for holidays with guaranteed sunshine. Many of you would have booked up months ago. Before you know it you will be on that flight, bucket and spade in hand.

BUT although you have made all the arrangements – what if something happens on holiday…. It’s likely whilst you have worries about missing the flight, are fairly sure the hotel will be nice, have checked that the travel insurance is in place and have your usual worry whether the kids will behave this time.

It’s likely that you and your partner DON’T have Wills, and have no idea what would happen to your assets if the worse were to happen.
So instead of not knowing, why don’t you put Wills in place (not just for your holiday but to cover you for a lot longer). If you want to have an informal discussion about sorting your Wills out, give me a call.

Wills-etc Quiz

Annoucing the Wills-etc Quiz!!!
Wills can be a boring subject, so how about trying to answer the Wills-etc Quiz. Hopefully you will know the answer to each question. If you don’t please contact me to discuss what is the right answer, and what will be the right answer for you and your family.

1. Common Law Marriage exists. TRUE/FALSE
2. A Will has to be in writing. TRUE /FALSE
3. Verbal Wills are valid. TRUE/FALSE
4. I have just got married and my Will is still valid. TRUE/FALSE
5. A Will covers all property, all over the world. TRUE/FALSE
6. Unmarried couples who don’t make a Will have legal protection. TRUE/FALSE
7. Unmarried couples who do make a Will have legal protection. TRUE/FALSE
8. Married couple’s property always passes to the spouse. TRUE/FALSE
9. Unmarried couples’ property always passes to the partner. TRUE/FALSE
10. Tax is payable on death when estate passes to the spouse/civil partner. TRUE/FALSE
11. Tax is payable on death when estate passes to the partner of an unmarried couple. TRUE/FALSE
12. Tax is payable on death when estate goes to children. TRUE/FALSE
13. What level is inheritance tax charged at?
14. My house is not in my name so no tax will be chargeable on it. TRUE/FALSE
15. How many people die in England and Wales without a valid Will in force?

A WILL CAN OVERRIDE (nearly) EVERYTHING!! If on doing the quiz you now have a question, please give me a call on 01483 564833.

Buying a House with a friend – what could be simpler!

Finally, you have come up with a way to buy a house! After much thought you have decided to buy with a friend, the loan is agreed, and you’ve found the property.

So everything is great, why should you worry?

When buying with the friend it is essential that you not only make a Will, but also that you come to a formal legal agreement to allow for the following:
• Exactly what shares you each have in the property (as it is likely that the amounts you each put in may be different).
• How any profits would be divided on any future sale.
• Allow for a formula to buy each other out, should one of you want out.
• Decide how the bills etc are to be split.
• What will happen on the death of one of you.
• If funds are coming from various sources, how these are to be paid back.

These are just some of the things that MUST go into a formal declaration which should be signed by all the buyers. Such agreements will prevent lengthy (and costs) legal arguments later!

So if you are about to buy with a friend, or you are a parent helping a child buy. Give me a call.

The Bank of Mum & Dad

Giving away assets – is that a good idea?

Many clients are worried that their children will never be able to afford a house. The answer many come up with is that they become the bank of Mum & Dad. Whilst you may be able to afford to help your children, there are various issues that have to be considered before the money changes hands!

• Making a gift can have an impact on your Capital Gains Tax position (often termed as gift tax!)
• A large gift could be a Potentially Exempt Transfer for Inheritance Tax!
• In some cases the gift could even be subject to Income Tax (under the Pre-owned Asset Regime).
• The tax position will be different depending on the assets you are going to give away.

Please be aware that cash will be treated differently from physical assets.

And these are just the potential taxation issues that must be considered!

Making a gift is different from making a loan to a child, which will have impacts on not only your personal tax position. But will have a direct impact on your Will provision. If the money you are making available to a child is to be a loan and NOT a gift the rules again will be different.

So if you are seriously thinking of being the Bank of Mum and Dad, call me first to ensure that your gift does not have any unforeseen complications.