If your circumstances change, please contact us so that we can check if your current Estate Plan is still best for you.
We have changed the family name to protect their identity, but this is what has happened to one of our valued clients.
Mr & Mrs Green were born in the 1940s. Mr Green worked for British Rail / Network Rail and Mrs Green was a teacher. In the 1970s they had two children. They purchased their council house in the 1980s and have spent their life helping their children in every possible way including gifting them funds when the children needed help. They have built up savings of £15,000 and their house is now worth £380,000. They have always wanted to leave as much as possible to their children when they pass away.
Over the years that Mr & Mrs Green have been clients, we have suggested on a number of occasions that they create Wills with a Life Interest in Property Trust and Powers of Attorney. Mr & Mrs Green have always enjoyed good health and felt that the cost of our suggestion was not justified. They were happy with their “simple” Wills. We last met Mr & Mrs Green in the autumn of 2016 but since then their circumstances have changed dramatically. Each Christmas Mrs Green used to note down the birthdays of the family in the diary of the year about to start. It was over Christmas 2016 that Mrs Green started to fill out her 2017 diary. She had always had a superb memory and her husband thought it strange that she was having to refer to her 2016 diary to pick out the family birthday dates to put them in her 2017 diary. When Mr Green remarked on this in a jovial way Mrs Green, for the first time in their almost fifty years together, swore at her husband. During 2017 Mrs Green’s aggressive dementia took over the lives of the family and sadly by the end of 2017 Mrs Green was in a care home. Because Mr Green was living in the family home and the savings were below the threshold, the Local Authority funded the care which was of a very high standard. By the end of 2017 Mrs Green had almost completely lost mental capacity.
Mr Green visited his wife every day in the care home and read to her from the books of some of her favourite authors. The whole experience was so unfamiliar to Mr Green and the children that, unfortunately, none of them thought to contact us for advice concerning the family Estate Plan.
The care home were very surprised when on 06 June 2019 Mr Green did not visit his wife. They tried to contact him without success and when they made contact with the family it became apparent that Mr Green had passed away at the age of 75.
Mr Green’s simple Will left all his assets to his wife. Now that no one lives at the family home the “exemption” status has been lifted and so the family home is now included in the assessment for care fees for Mrs Green. Mr & Mrs Green never created Powers of Attorney so the children must now apply to the court so that one of them can act as a deputy and handle the affairs of Mrs Green. This is a lengthy and costly process.
We have created thousands of Wills with a Life Interest in Property Trust which will protect half of the family home between first death and second death. If only Mr & Mrs Green had taken our advice £190,000 of the family home would now be safely in a trust ready to pass to the children when Mrs Green passes away.
If your circumstances change, please contact us so that your family is not left in the position that Mr & Mrs Green’s children now find themselves in.
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.