Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney are the cornerstones of Estate Planning so the short answer to the question is everyone. However there are certain people who have a greater need than others and if you fall into one of the following categories and don’t have a Will you should take action now.
Single Parents – Single parents are amongst the least likely to have a will in place, but arguably they are the people who need to be making a Will the most. The reason is simple, if you die who will look after your children? This is not something that can be left to chance and a Will is the document that allows you to appoint the guardians that you want for your children. Whilst appointing the children’s guardians you will also make other important decisions like who will look after their money, what age they will receive their inheritance and what can be released to them and their guardians to fund their lifestyle. These are all questions with consequences and it is best to talk them through with a specialist professional advisor before making any decisions.
Cohabiting Couples – Think your other half will get what’s yours if you die? Think again, whilst there is talk about changing the law around co-habitation, as we go to press co-habiting partners have no rights of inheritance unless there is a valid will which leaves what’s yours to your partner. When making your Will you might want to consider guaranteeing provision for you children (especially if they don’t all share the same parents) through the use of trusts or specific gifts. If you don’t take action your partner could end up in the courts trying to get back what could have been theirs if valid wills were in place.
Second Marriage/ Relationship – A second marriage or relationship can be complicated, especially if someone else’s kids are involved. A carefully constructed will can make sure that everyone involved is provided for in a fair and equitable way. This is essential if you want to avoid a great deal of bad feeling and heartache after you have gone.
Over 55’s – As we get older a properly executed will becomes more and more powerful, depending on your circumstances your Will can help you save on inheritance tax, help to minimise your exposure to care fees, and together with Lasting Powers of Attorney ensure that control of your assets and choice over your lifestyle stay within the family.
Business Owners – Your Will can ensure the continuity of your business and is potentially the most important tax planning vehicle for your family at your death. My favourite question is ‘Who would run your business if you were not around?’ without a valid Will there is often no answer to the question, with a Will your business can continue to thrive long after you have departed.