Get your priorities in order for 2016

14 January 2016

It’s the new year. You’ve decided to lose weight, quit smoking, drink less. But have you promised yourself to get your assets in order?

Around half of the adult population don’t have a will. This can be because we believe we don’t need one and we don’t have enough assets. Many assume their assets will go to their other half in the event of their death.

And for some, it’s simply the act of talking about the taboo subject or ‘tempting fate’.

Peace of mind

It’s imperative to have an up-to-date will regardless of your age, marital status or wealth.

One certainty in life is that you will die, but no one knows when that day will come. Having a will means your wishes are followed and the most important reason, peace of mind.

Having an open discussion with your nearest and dearest about what will happen to your body, assets, and most importantly who will look after any young children, takes the burden off those left behind.

Which cause will you choose?

According to recent figures released by Remember A Charity, 74% of adults say they give to charities in their lifetime, with 35% saying they will leave money to charity in their will. However, only 7% do.

After you’ve gone, charities won’t continue to benefit from the valuable donations in your lifetime, unless you cover this in your will.

Even leaving a small amount to a charity close to your heart can make a big difference.

Eliminate the risk

Writing a will has benefits when it comes to inheritance tax and asset protection. It is also helpful with caring for relatives who are disabled or vulnerable.

And if someone is in a second marriage, a will can ensure that children from previous relationships are taken care of.

In the event of your death, if you’re unmarried and without a will, you face a serious risk that the money will not be distributed as you wish.

You get what you pay for

Reviewing wills regularly is important. I recommend doing so at least every 3-5 years, or sooner if there’s a change in circumstances or legislation.

You should see a solicitor who is both qualified and experienced in advising on wills. As with most things in life, you get what you pay for.

We should all also consider preparing Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) to state who you would like to look after your affairs should you be unable to. Many think these are only relevant for those at a later stage in life.

In my experience, people can find themselves unable to look after their affairs at different points in life, after an accident, illness or being overseas.

So, take action this January and put plans in place that will outlast your gym membership.

Find out more about making a will

Iain Wanstall, Wills and Trusts Specialist at Labrums Solicitors