Will Disputes: What If You’ve Been Left Out?

Losing a loved one is always an upsetting time. That upset is only heightened if you later discover that you have been left out of their Will, or in some way under-recognised.

There are options open to you if you wish to contest a Will, thanks to the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. The Act allows people to bring a claim against the estate in certain circumstances, when they feel that “reasonable financial provision” has not been made for them.

The courts will then evaluate where such provision has been made for you, and if not, what provision needs to be in place for you. In order to make a successful claim, you will need to demonstrate to the courts that you had a reasonable expectation of having your living costs met by the deceased.

All sorts of factors will be taken into account here, such as your financial position and needs (both now and in the future) the size of the estate and even your conduct.

There is a host of different circumstances where someone may wish to challenge a Will, for example a former spouse or a child of the deceased, or simply someone who was financially dependent on the deceased before they passed away.

There is a time limit on making a claim though – it must be issued at court within six months of the date of the grant of probate.

The court has the power to step in and revise the way that the estate has been divided – this may mean you receiving a lump sum or even the entitlement to a regular payment from the net estate of the deceased.

The issue has enjoyed a lot of press coverage in recent years, primarily down to a case where a mother left her £486,000 estate to three charities, leaving out her estranged daughter entirely.

While the daughter succeeded in challenging this, winning a six-figure settlement, that has now been overturned by the Supreme Court.

Jon O’Brien, “The 1975 Act opens up the possibility of challenging a Will if you believe you have been unfairly left out, though it is important to get legal advice first. You will also need to prove that you could rightfully have expected some sort of contribution from the deceased.”

Finance North Estate Planning Services
Cheshire Office – 0161 771 2056
Staffordshire Office 01782 963 303

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Reasons for a Property Protection Trust

A Property Protection Trust is designed to help and protect your property from creditors including an assessment for long term care fees.

Our Property Protection Trust will ensure that your estate is kept intact by protecting your share of your home (or other property, if required) or the value in it.

We do this by firstly changing Joint ownership of the property to Tenants in Common usually each owning 50% this then enables you to “Will” your share to your chosen beneficiary via your Family Trust.

By leaving your share of the property in a Trust with a life interest to your partner/spouse you safeguard your assets from being lost should your partner re-marry, or be diluted if that partnership ends in divorce. It also protects the trust property from bankruptcy and care costs in later life for the surviving partner.

Importantly the Trust also protects the interests of the survivor, allowing them to live in the property until their death, (or, if required, until they cohabit or remarries.) If the survivor then goes on to remarry, they cannot leave the whole of the property to their new spouse, as a portion is already owned by the Trustees on behalf of the chosen beneficiaries. The survivor can also move house if they so wish, using the whole of the proceeds towards another property, or raise capital by purchasing a smaller property, a greater proportion of which will then be owned by the Trustees.

  • Typical Example

On first death, the Deceased’s share of the property is passed into their Trust via the Will. The surviving spouse/ partner continues to live in the property and is still able to move home if they choose to do so.

In the event that the survivor enters Care, the survivor only owns a half share of a house

 

PPT1

  • Benefits

Care
Holding the assets in the Trust ensures that they do not add onto the Beneficiaries’ own estates and so cannot be assessed for their Care costs.

Marriage After Death
Placing half of the family home and other assets into a Trust on first death ensures that, should the surviving spouse/partner marry in the future, those assets cannot
be taken into the marriage and removes the threat of your own children being disinherited. The survivor is still able to use the assets in the Trust.

Creditors or Bankruptcy
Similarly, if any of your Beneficiaries are subject to Creditor Claims/Bankruptcy then their inheritance would not be exposed to these claims.

Divorce
Placing the assets into Trust ensures that, if your children/ chosen Beneficiaries are subject to Divorce proceedings then what you intended them to receive is protected from any Divorce settlements.

Further or Generational IHT
Holding the assets in the Trust ensures that they do not add to the Beneficiaries’ estates and impact on their own Inheritance Tax

Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB)
Our trusts ensure that if there are lineal descendants as beneficiaries, the trust will still qualify for the RNRB.

Remember that making a basic double Will
only guarantees what happens on 1st death

 

Without the correct planning, some or all of your children’s or grandchildren’s  inheritance could be lost. However, with a few simple strategies we can protect you and your family from needless expense and worry.

Consider the Facts…

  • Everyone should have a Will, but 2 out of 3 people have not yet made a Will and those that have, may not have the correct Will in place
  • Many of the population lose their homes and / or savings to pay for care.
  • A large proportion of any inheritance is lost in future divorce settlements, to creditors or bankruptcy and unnecessary taxation.

Peace of mind is just a phone call away! Call us today on 0161 771 2056 or enter your details below…

Finance North Estate Planning Services
Cheshire Office – 0161 771 2056
Staffordshire Office 01782 963 303

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This page contains only general planning advice and is not to be construed as advice for any specific personal planning. Each strategy recommended is based on individual circumstances.

 

How wealthy families keep their wealth.

David Cameron’s father’s will makes interesting reading.

He left a fortune of £2,740,000 from which the ex-Prime Minister received the sum of £300,000, but what is interesting is that:-

  • He appointed his children as Executors and Trustees.
  • He and his wife owned their home as Tenants in Common rather than joint owners.
  • His half of the home went into Trust rather than directly to his widow.

 

Cameron Will

 

Trusts have been instrumental in mitigating tax since the Medieval times. Trusts were initially created for the Nobility and wealthy landowners to avoid paying taxes to the Crown. Nowadays, you don’t have to be a Nobleman, or a wealthy landowner to want to take advantage of the many tax strategies Trusts can provide.

The use of Trusts ensures that assets are protected from attack from the following.

  • Care Fees
  • Divorce / Separation
  • Creditors / Bankruptcy
  • Inheritance Tax
  • Generational Inheritance Tax

We have advised many clients from all walks of life in protecting their homes and other assets, so that their children and grandchildren can maximise their inheritance, and we have now launched a fixed price package to specifically tackle the above problems at an affordable price for all home owners and from all walks of life.

Firstly you will receive a free no obligation home visit from one of our trained consultants which usually takes about 1hr where you can ask any questions and discuss the matter in more detail.

Once you have decided to proceed we will take all the necessary instructions and then commence constructing a Will each, a Flexible Family Trust each with Memorandum of Wishes and also a Deed of Severance. Within approximately 2 weeks your consultant will return with all the documents for signing.

 

PPT

On first death, the deceased’s share of the property is passed into their Flexible Family Trust via the Will. The surviving Spouse or Partner continues to live in the property and is still able to move home if they choose to do so. In the event that the survivor enters care, the survivor only owns half a share of the family home.

The beneficiaries have access to the Trust Funds but we ensure that these assets do not enter their estates and so are protected from attack by the following:

  • Marriage after Death – Placing half of the family home and other assets into a Trust on first death ensures that, should the surviving spouse or partner marry in the future, those assets cannot be taken into the marriage and removes the threat of your children being disinherited.
  • Divorce – Placing your assets into a trust ensures if your children or chosen beneficiaries are subject to a divorce then what you intended them to receive is protected from any divorce settlements.
  • Creditors – Similarly if any of your beneficiaries are subject to Creditor claims or bankruptcy then their inheritance would not be exposed to these claims.
  • Care Costs – The trust ensures that they do not add onto the beneficiaries own estates and so cannot be assessed for their care costs.
  • Further or Generational IHT – Holding the assets in the trust ensures that they do not add to the beneficiaries estates and impact on their own Inheritance Tax.

For more information, please call 0161 771 2056 or simply complete the form below
and one of our consultants will gladly answer any questions you may have.

Finance North
Estate Planning Services
Offices in Cheshire and Staffordshire

www.FinanceNorthEPS.co.uk

 

 

 

What Will Your Legacy Be?

We tend to think of a legacy as a material possession or an accumulation of wealth that we can pass down to our children or other beneficiaries when we die. Legacy has a much broader meaning and one that might cause us to pause and think more about how we live our lives rather than worry about what happens afterwards

In this sense, we’re thinking about the things we do while we are alive and the “footprint” we leave behind.

It’s easy to think this is only achievable by those who are famous or people who have contributed to society on a large scale or in a significant way. Certainly, imagine for a moment how different the world would be without the diverse legacies of Shakespeare, Florence Nightingale, Martin Luther King or more recently Steve Jobs. They made positive contributions while they were alive and whose effects have rippled through history and will continue to do so for a very long time.

Not all legacies are positive, however. The effects of Hitler and Osama Bin Laden’s lives and actions have undoubtedly been profound and negative.

That said, a legacy doesn’t have to be on such a grand scale. We are all in a position to leave a legacy of some kind. It’s not something we generally think about, but it is entwined in the choices and actions we take in day-to-day life.

For many this will simply be living a fulfilled life, loving and teaching our children to be contributing adults so that they can grow up to live rich and satisfying lives of their own. It may be through volunteering or working with those less privileged than ourselves and inspiring others to do the same. Perhaps it could be through fundraising: moving people and organisations to give their time and money to create facilities such as hospitals or schools in faraway places or to fund research to cure diseases.

Some people create a legacy by campaigning to help others when they are faced with adversity and devastating circumstances. Trevor Lakin fought for overseas victims of terrorist attacks to receive compensation from the Government. In 2012, seven years after his son was killed in an Egyptian terror attack, the law was finally changed.

Our own Mark Roberts of Finance North sadly lost his wife Elise to cancer in 2010 and decided to start an appeal for The Christie hospital in Manchester in her memory and raised the staggering amount of £1.175 million and since then has created a national cancer charity, Challenge Cancer UK, which supports those affected by cancer.

Sometimes there’s an overlap between the two different types of legacy. People who have found success in a particular field might set up bursaries or scholarships to provide an opportunity to someone who might not otherwise be in a position to follow in their footsteps.

However, we live our lives, on a large or small scale, our legacy will be judged on the things we said and did and by the people who our lives touched. Why not think about what yours will be today?

Planning and ensuring your legacy isn’t leaving a burden on your loved ones is important for us all. Make sure you have everything in place by contacting Finance North Estate Planning Services and talking to professionals who know how to manage all circumstances and ensure you have what you need to leave your prized possessions exactly how you wish.

Jon O’Brien
Trust & Estate Planning Consultant
Finance North Estate Planning Services
The Dudson Centre, Hope Street, Stoke on Trent, ST1 5DD
01782 963 303, http://www.FinanceNorthEPS.co.uk

Factoring Dependants Into Your Will

Perhaps one of the first things to think about when planning or revising your Will is who your dependants are. Who relies on you financially or for care? These are significant considerations you will need to think about

Obviously, this could include a spouse, civil partner or co-habiting partner, along with any children you may have. This isn’t limited to your natural children; you may have adopted or step-children you will need to consider. It may also include anyone you have been caring for or looking after financially, such as elderly relatives or a child with a disability.

If you and your partner are not married or in a civil partnership, it is vital that you have a Will to protect them should you die. If you don’t then the proceeds from your estate will pass to your children or to other relatives if you have no children. If there are no relatives, your estate will pass to the Crown.  Under the Inheritance Act 1975 your partner may be able to make an application for some of your assets, but this will take time and money.

If you and your partner die before your children are 18 years old, they will need a guardian to take responsibility for them.

You may also consider setting up a Trust to cater for the financial costs of being a guardian, by leaving a property for any children in the Trust until they are older. Usually a guardian will be one of the trustees, but it’s advisable to appoint someone separate as well to help the guardians and ensure there is no conflict of interest.

More thought also needs to go into providing for a child with disabilities. If you have more than one child, it is natural to want to provide for them equally. That said, sharing the proceeds of your estate equally between your children may not be in the disabled child’s best interests.

If you plan to leave a lump sum to each child, you need to assess whether or not the disabled child has the capability to make decisions for themselves. If they don’t have capacity to deal with their financial affairs, a deputy may need to be appointed. This is likely to eat into some of the funds of their inheritance.

You will also need to consider whether any inheritance left to a disabled child will affect their entitlement to means tested benefits. If it does, their inheritance may have unintended consequences that leave them worse off financially rather than better.

Again, setting up a Trust to provide an income for the disabled child is often a sensible approach to take.

There are different types of Trusts to consider and Trust law is complex. A good Solicitor, Estate Planner or Will Writing Professional will be able to advise you on this and all aspects of providing for your dependants in the way that you want.

“Til Death Do You Part?

Around a third of parents are unwilling to leave an inheritance to their children or provide them with financial aid, as they are concerned that divorce may mean that money leaves the family.

This is according to research from Investec Investment & Wealth, which found that 14% of parents had little or no confidence that their children’s marriages would last a lifetime.

It is perhaps an understandable concern, with around 42% of marriages failing, according to the Office for National Statistics.

There are, however, steps you can take to ensure that your money ends up in the right hands – irrespective of how successful your child might be at finding a long-lasting partner.

Make use of your gift allowance

The research found that one in six parents are opting to give their loved ones small financial gifts to help with the cost of living, rather than large lump sums.

It’s important to remember that everyone has a £3,000 annual gift allowance, covering financial gifts you can hand over each year, free of inheritance tax. On top of that you can give away up to £250 to any number of people each year.

Skip a generation

According to the research, around 14% of parents are skipping a generation and instead looking to leave assets to their grandchildren.

Put it in trust

The study found that one in seven parents are considering putting the money into a discretionary trust, which could be a useful way to protect the money from a divorce.

With a discretionary trust, it is up to the trustees to determine how and when any potential beneficiaries may be able to access the cash. You can appoint yourself as the trustee, so that you have final say over where the money goes, or you can go for an independent trustee. What’s more, the money within the trust is classed as separate from your estate, so it’s free of Inheritance Tax.

It’s important to consider exactly how you want your assets to be divided up among your loved ones, and get those wishes down in the form of a comprehensive will. Speak to our team today at Finance North Estate Planning Services, call 0161 771 2056 or complete the form below and one of our consultants will contact you to help you get your will in place.


Finance North Estate Planning Services
Offices in Cheshire & Stoke on Trent