Rachael Waring, a Solicitor in the Wills, Probate and Estate Planning department at Holdens Solicitors explains why a Will is always necessary to protect your family.
New Year planning
The New Year is always a good time to take stock and ensure that all matters relevant to us have been considered and dealt with.
It had previously been thought that 2018 may have seen the ‘nil rate band,’ the buffer before Inheritance Tax becomes payable raised but this is not the case. It would appear that it will stay the same at £325,000 until at least the end of 2021.
One increase will shall see though is the ‘residence nil rate band’ which is increasing from £100,000 to £125,000 from 6th April 2018 and this is particularly useful if a main residence on death is passing to ‘direct descendants’; even if it is passing to a spouse or civil partner then much like the current ‘nil rate band’ the relief can be carried over and used by your estate when the time comes.
Even if you do not think that such estate planning issues will be relevant to you, an issue that is relevant to us all is the need to make a Will.
Whether you have children from a previous relationship, you are single or newly married, a Will can be invaluable in legally directing who you want to benefit. If you do nothing the ‘intestacy rules’ will determine to whom your estate passes; for example, if you co habit with someone but are not married to each other / in a Civil Partnership, then they will not automatically inherit anything from your estate. Whilst you may not wish them to inherit it everything, most people would not want to leave to chance the potential for a long term partner to receive nothing for the want of a Will.
The final matter ‘not to be left’ is that of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) – There are two types, Property and Affairs and Health and Welfare.
The general principle behind them is that you as the ‘donor’ complete the LPA, (a 16 page document) whilst you have the mental capacity to do so and within the LPA you legally appoint ‘attorneys’ for example a spouse or adult child, to act on your behalf should you ever lack the requisite capacity to do so yourself.
If you do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney, suddenly lose capacity and then for example have to sell your home to be closer to loved ones, the process can be very difficult, costly and lengthy, all at a time when you / your family need a smooth way ahead.
An LPA can be an invaluable document but as has been highlighted in recent months; their powers are wide so there must be careful consideration of whom one appoints as their attorney before they make and register their LPA.
I would be happy to assist with any matters arising from the points above. Rachael Waring is a Solicitor in the Wills, Probate and Estate Planning department at Holdens Solicitors and is based at their Lancaster office. Rachael lives near Preston with her young family and is a member of the Society for Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and the Agricultural Law Association. [email protected] – 01524 32484