Whether you are an existing client of ours or a client with another firm, it is important to review your estate planning every few years. This is because circumstances are ever-changing and what may have been best for you when you created your Will may no longer be appropriate.
You may have a Will created by Casey & Associates or it may have been created by another firm. Whoever your Will was created by, it is always important to have regular reviews. The Society of Will Writers & Estate Planning Practitioners (SOWW), the country’s largest regulatory body in relation to the Will writing industry, recommends reviewing your Will every three years. This helps to ensure that your Will still reflects your wishes and current circumstances and that the advice given to you previously has not been superseded by changes in government legislation. For example, are you aware that one Inheritance Tax Relief is available if you leave assets to children but not if you leave assets to grandchildren subject to them attaining a certain age?
If an executor or beneficiary of your Will has passed away or no longer has capacity, it is important to review the impact it will have on your Will. Do you need to appoint a replacement executor? Do you need a vulnerable persons trust for your beneficiary? Since writing your Will you have you married or separated from your spouse or life partner? It cannot be assumed that because you are no longer with them that they will not inherit from your Will if named as a beneficiary. Have you recently had a child? Do you need to appoint a guardian? Perhaps you have become a grandparent and would you like to provide for your grandchild(ren) in your Will?
Changes in circumstances may not affect only your Will. They can also affect other important estate planning elements such as Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) and trusts. If attorneys appointed in your Lasting Power of Attorney document have passed away, or are no longer able to act due to lack of capacity or bankruptcy, you may be left without a useable document. It is important to review how many attorneys, and replacement attorneys, are appointed in your LPAs and how they have been appointed. For example, if attorneys have been appointed jointly, and one of them can no longer act, then you should consider recreating your LPA as it may no longer be useable. Alternatively, somebody who you would like to appoint as your attorney may have recently reached the age of 18 and can therefore now legally act as your attorney. You may wish to consider reviewing your LPAs to include them.
Do you have a trust in your Will, and have you moved since creating your Will? Whilst moving does not always impact upon your Will, if you have a testamentary trust it is important to ensure the trust can protect your new property. A review will also mean a check is carried out on your new property to ensure that you own it in the correct way for your trust to work properly when you pass away.
It is also important to consider that the circumstances for which you created the trust may have changed. Do you have the best trust for your current circumstances? For example, if you have married since creating your Will with a trust, it may be best advice to consider switching from a Nil-Rate-Band trust to a life interest trust. You will need a new Will, anyway, because marriage revokes a Will.
If you would like an appointment with one of our Consultants to discuss Estate Planning or if you have further questions regarding a Consultant visit, please telephone 01732 868190 or click here.