New year, new you? Why it might be a good time to write a Will

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Clearly, 2020 will go down in history for many reasons. The global pandemic, Brexit, and the fallout from these events has significantly affected many areas of our lives and may have far-reaching implications for our finances, our relationships and our business interests. With that in mind, the new year could be the perfect opportunity to write a Will or review your existing arrangements. In doing so, what are the main points you should consider?

Have you made a Will?

Recent research by Royal London determined that 54% of UK adults do not have a Will. This includes 59% of parents who either do not have a Will or possess one that does not accurately reflect their wishes. If you have not made a Will, you have no control over what happens to your assets after you pass away. Making a Will is particularly important if you have children, own property, have savings or investments, or run a business.

Does your Will continue to accurately reflect your wishes?

If your circumstances have changed this year, you should update your Will to reflect those changes. Examples of life events that should be taken into account include changing career, moving house, moving in with a partner, getting married or divorced, or welcoming a new baby to the family.

Do you need to change your beneficiaries or executors?

There are a variety of reasons which may lead you to change the people that are named in your Will. Perhaps you have outlived executors or beneficiaries named in the document, or maybe the relationship has deteriorated. In this case, you would need to replace them in your Will to avoid complications in the event of your death and the distribution of your estate.

Have your business interests changed?

This year has been challenging for businesses with the need to adapt to lockdown restrictions. As a consequence, some may have flourished whilst others have struggled. If your business interests have changed significantly, now might be a good time to review both your Will and your succession plan for your business.

Do you wish to take advantage of Inheritance Tax or care home fee planning?

It is always advisable to review your Will and estate regularly in line with current tax legislation, reliefs and opportunities to save on Inheritance Tax, and to plan for care requirements. Reviewing your affairs can be a positive way to start the year as It allows you to understand where you are financially, and to effectively plan ahead.

Next steps

If you have yet to make a Will, consider seeking legal assistance to draft the document so that your wishes regarding what happens to your estate can be followed at the appropriate time.  If you already have Will in place, it may be worth taking advice as to whether any of its terms should be revised, particularly to reflect any recent changes to your personal circumstances.  There is no need to wait until the pandemic is over, as our lawyers can discuss matters with you over video link, telephone or in person at our offices.