Where there’s a Will…
Changes in your personal circumstances or changes to the tax system introduced by the government could have a bearing on your Will. If any of the following apply to you, then it may be time for you to take a fresh look at your Will to make sure that it still reflects your intentions:-
1. Has the value of your assets increased or decreased substantially in recent times? It is possible that when you made your Will, you did so on the basis that you would have a certain amount of money in your Estate to leave to your beneficiaries. If your share or property portfolio has taken a nosedive then there may be insufficient funds in your Estate to carry out the instructions in your Will. It is important for you to review your Will to make sure that the people you really want to benefit still do.
2. Have your personal circumstances changed since you last made your Will?
o Have you now disposed of an asset that you had left to someone in your Will?
o Are your beneficiaries still alive?
o Are your children now over the age of 18?
o Have you recently had children? Do you need to appoint guardians?
o Have you married?
o Have you separated or divorced?
o Have you a long-term relationship with someone to whom you are not married? Your partner will have no legal entitlement to benefit from your Estate unless specifically provided for in your Will.
If your circumstances have changed, your Will may not now cover all the issues that it should arising out of these changes.
3. If you made your Will in a tax efficient manner, it is possible that this tax planning no longer achieves its purpose. Capital Acquisitions Tax (C.A.T.) is a tax which is paid on inheritances and gifts. The rate of C.A.T. has recently increased from 20% to 25%. There are thresholds for C.A.T. below which no tax is payable (see the thresholds in the article Another Newsletter another Budget). These have all reduced considerably within the past few months. As a result, it is possible that some of your beneficiaries may have a higher tax liability now and you may want to consider redrafting your Will in a more tax efficient manner.
If you need assistance in relation to updating your Will or if you would like to make your first Will, please contact Jackie Buckley, Partner email@example.com