I don’t mean have you got fluffy feathers and a long neck, though if you have get in touch because you’re the first ostrich that can read and I want to be your agent! This time next year and all that….
I mean are you burying your head in the sand. Stats show that around 75% of the UK population don’t have a Will. The most popular reply I hear is “Thinking about dying scares me” and whilst I understand the sentiment, making a Will isn’t an invitation for a visit from the grim reaper, it just means you’re thinking about your loved ones.
If you listed the most important things in your life, I don’t think I’d be too far off the mark to assume that list would include your family and those you care about. If you have children they may be top of the list. By making a Will you could choose who you would want to be their guardians should the unthinkable happen and you were no longer here before they were 18. You certainly wouldn’t want to leave it to chance that they may be separated or go to someone that doesn’t share your values and beliefs in the way you would want them to be brought up.
Don’t just assume what you want to happen, will. The law gives you the opportunity to make your wishes clear. If you decide not to, someone you don’t know and doesn’t know your children could end up making that decision for you, and it might not be what you (or they) wanted.
Now what about those assets you worked so hard for all your life? Let’s start with the little ones. Have you ever had the misfortune to lose or break your phone? I have. Panic sets in and you suddenly wish you took out that £3 per month insurance that seemed so expensive at the time but would come in pretty handy now. But in the grand scheme of life, even if you own a really expensive phone, it’s probably worth no more than £700.
What’s your home worth? Several hundreds of thousands of pounds I’d guess, maybe more than £1m, especially if you live in the South. I’m sure many of you would like to think that when you’re playing your proverbial harp on your white cloud your home would pass to those you love. Without planning, which is a bit like having that £3 per month insurance for your phone, your loved ones could end up having to sell it to pay the tax man a very hefty sum indeed.
In fact, up to 40% of it’s value. Oh, by the way, the tax has to be paid before your loved ones get the asset. With rising property values and what’s left after the tax man fills his boots, they could end up living in something rather less salubrious.
Don’t be an ostrich, speak to an expert now.
This information provided in this article is not intended to constitute legal advice and each relationship breakdown requires careful consideration in our view by a fully qualified Solicitor before decisions are made and before you embark on a certain course of action.
Nino Cuffaro – Wills, Trust and Probate
T: 020 7183 1485