The New Year's Resolution you should keep

As we move into 2019, many of us reading this blog will have made New Year resolutions that are ultimately doomed to fail. Typically we all start with the best of intentions, but staying motivated enough to maintain the effort for a whole year can be very difficult.

However one resolution that you will never regret is instructing Talbots Law to review your will.  Richard Stone, Associate at Talbots Law Trusts & Estates department, says that personal circumstances can change dramatically over the course of 12 months, and that the New Year is a perfect time to review your will and put in plans for the year ahead.

Richard explains: "The start of a new year is a time to look back at what has gone and look ahead at what's to come, making it the perfect time to review your financial planning - especially your will and wealth planning."

Richard has put together five key points to consider when assessing whether your existing will is still suitable, still relevant and still properly reflects your wishes.

  1. Have there been any changes to your marital status? Marriage or civil partnership automatically revokes your will unless it is made with that event in mind. On separation or divorce a spouse will benefit under your existing will until the final order is granted.
  2. Have there been any changes to your family? New children or grandchildren may not be included in your existing will. Have you provided for minors financially and appointed guardians or considered whether wealth will stay within the family if adult children enter new relationships?
  3. Do you wish to change the executors? Are the executors you named still willing and able to take on the role and do you still want them? You may wish to appoint new executors.
  4. Are the beneficiaries the same? You may wish to include new beneficiaries, exclude existing ones or change specific gifts to people or organisations. Are any specific assets mentioned in your existing will no longer owned by you? Do you wish to change the way in which your estate is distributed?
  5. Do you own a property or assets where you want to preserve the value for your family? Planning opportunities exist through your will, which you may not have previously considered. This may be to provide for long-term care or to pass assets tax efficiently to the next generation.

And if you've resolved to make your will for the first time in 2019, make sure it's one resolution you keep!  Remember . . . you don’t have to be as rich as Aretha Franklin to leave your family with problems if you die without a will. Nobody knows exactly when they are going to die and to do so without a will can cause real difficulties to those they leave behind (in addition to the grief of losing someone). This can range from arguments over funeral arrangements to members of the family missing out completely on a ‘fair share’ of their inheritance. Even where family dynamics are relatively straightforward, we would urge everyone to make adequate provisions so that those closest to them can sort their affairs without undue stress.

Richard concludes: "If any of these points apply to your circumstances, you should contact me to review your will”.   Richard can be contacted via Talbots Law New Enquiries team on 0800 118 1500.