2021. Starting the Year Right.

After a tumultuous 2020, the start of a new year brings hope of a fresh start and better times in 2021. Looking to the future has never been more important, and the new year is the perfect time to consider your future and the future of your loved ones. Katie Kenealy, an Affiliate of the Society for Trust and Estates Practitioners, explains why estate planning should be a top priority this year.

The Covid pandemic has highlighted, for many, the importance of taking control of your affairs and planning for your future. The prospect of making a Will is not something relished by most people and is often an area that people are reluctant to talk about. However, continually putting off this vital task can be a costly and sometimes stressful oversight. It is a common misconception that the entirety of your estate will pass by default to the most obvious beneficiaries in your life (be it a spouse or children), but that is not always the case. The rules surrounding intestate estates (i.e. where a person has died without leaving a valid Will in place) are complex and family members are often overwhelmed by the challenges of administering an intestate estate following the loss of a loved one. Making a Will ensures that your wishes are met and that your estate passes to those who you wish to benefit.

It is particularly important to give thought to your Will planning when extended families and second marriages are relevant. Without a correctly drafted Will in place, children of the family from the first marriage could find themselves completely disinherited in favour of the spouse and children from a second marriage. Seeking advice from a specialist can safeguard against such an eventuality and provide you, and your family, with peace of mind.

Even those who have already have a Will in place should regularly update their Wills to ensure that they still meet your requirements. Reviewing your Will at regular intervals will ensure that that any changes in tax legislation and care home funding provisions, both of which are fluid in nature, are taken into account. Appropriate Will planning and the implementation of trust arrangements can help reduce the burden of Inheritance Tax significantly.

Another important issue to consider when planning for your future is what will happen to you in the event that you lose the capacity to manage your own affairs. Making a Lasting Powers of Attorney provides you with the freedom and reassurance of knowing who will make decisions for you in the event that you are unable to do so yourself.

For more information regarding estate planning, or to make an appointment to discuss your requirements, please contact Katie Kenealy on 01633 603178 or by email individuals@rdplaw.co.uk.