Over 11 years in the estate planning industry has brought us into contact with many people from all walks of life. Despite the diverse backgrounds of the people we meet in the day-to-day course of our work, there are a number of common misconceptions that we come across time and again. Here is a selection of the most common:
If you make a Will you avoid the need for probate
This is one of the most common misconceptions that we come across and it is simply not true. Grant of probate will almost certainly be required in the event that the deceased either owned a property or owned other substantial assets in their sole name; for example, a bank account, shares or other investments. A Will helps to ensure the assets of the deceased go to the beneficiaries intended but does nothing to alleviate the need for a grant of probate to be obtained.
A beneficiary of a Will can’t be one of the executors
Another very common misconception that is without foundation. If it were true, it would mean that a husband wishing to leave his entire estate to his wife would not be able to nominate her to be an executor. The only individuals that can’t be a beneficiary of a Will are the witnesses to the attestation (the signing) of the Will.
If I don’t make a Will my spouse will get everything anyway
Wrong! The only way to be certain that your assets will go where you want them to is to make a Will. No other strategy guarantees that this will happen. Remember also that the eventual administrators of your estate (who in the absence of a Will may not be who you intended them to be) would incur additional fees in carrying out their duties (which would have to be paid out of your estate) and would also have to negotiate a host of wholly unnecessary bureaucracy, all of which could be avoided just by making that all-important Will.
If I put an asset into trust that means a company controls my asset
Wrong again! Like all Wills need executors to be appointed in order to administer them, all trusts need trustees for exactly the same reason. Trustees are appointed by the person putting an asset into trust and this means that nobody outside of the trusted circle of family and friends needs to be involved, yet the asset remains protected by the trust regardless of who the trustees may be.
If you would like to meet with one of our Consultants to discuss any of the issues raised in this article or any other Estate Planning topic please telephone 01732 868190 or click here.