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The greatest gift you can leave your family is to ensure when you pass away your affairs are clearly in order. Your plans for the distribution of your assets and the instructions to your executors clear, so there is no confusion for your family and friends.
Illness can strike at any time but still the majority of the population keep putting off making a Will.
Everyone has assets such as their home, shares, businesses, savings, investments, life policies or pensions. Many employers give their employees the benefit of death in service policies giving up to three or four times their gross salary. If you sit down and write a list of all your assets you might surprise yourself.
You could buy a simple one size fits all template form from a stationery store or download from the internet. Is it sensible? Most people only complete a Will once and to preserve your wealth and to answer the questions you will have when making a Will, you should speak to a solicitor. A specialist who does it every day. The costs of a solicitor preparing a Will are small compared to the whole of the value of your assets.
Where the assets are more complex such as interests in privately owned businesses, artworks, investments, assets abroad, settling those assets in trusts may be an appropriate option, not only to provide for this generation but perhaps the next - your children, grandchildren and beyond.
It is a truth that families do inevitably fall out. A poorly drafted Will may cast doubt out upon the interpretation of the Will and the intentions of the person making it. In recent years we have seen an increased number of families coming before the Courts, challenging their inheritance; challenging the meaning of Wills. The cost of these disputes for all sides is funded by the deceased's assets. Therefore effectively defeating the objects of the person who made the Will to preserve their assets for their loved ones. The money can be tied up in the legal arguments for years, preventing effective distribution to those it was intended to benefit. There have been several high profile cases reported in the media of large estates being fought over by spouses, ex-spouses, children, lovers and carers where the whole of the Estate has disappeared in legal costs.
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