5 things you Need to Know about your Will and Getting Divorced

  1. Getting divorced does not invalidate your will.

If you have obtained your Decree Absolute (the final court order dissolving your marriage), your will takes effect as if your previous spouse died on the date of the Decree Absolute.

  1. Your spouse remains your next of kin whilst you remain married.

Until you obtain the Decree Absolute, you remain married to your spouse.  Therefore, if you do not want them to benefit under the terms of your will, you may need to change it.  If you do not have a will, your spouse may inherit your estate as your next of kin and you should consider putting a will in place to avoid this.

  1. Joint assets may not pass in accordance with the terms of your will.

If you still have assets, such as bank accounts or savings, owned jointly with your spouse, the assets will still pass to your spouse if you pass away.  Simply having a Will in place that leaves your estate to someone other than your spouse will not override this.

  1. If you own a property in joint names, you may wish to consider owning it as tenants in common.

Jointly held property can be held in two ways.  You can either be joint tenants or tenants in common.  As joint tenants, should one of you pass away, their share passes automatically to the surviving owner.  As tenants in common, should one of you pass away, their share passes in accordance with the terms of their will instead. You may not want to be joint tenants with your spouse and should take advice about becoming tenants in common. 

  1. Pension death benefits are often dealt with separately to your will.

You will need to also update any pension death benefits to ensure your spouse does not benefit from these in the event of your death.  These benefits are often paid directly from the pension trustees to your nominated beneficiary and historically you will have likely nominated your spouse.

Make sure your Will is updated to protect your family
Make sure your Will is updated to protect your family

There may be many things on your mind when you are getting divorced but ensure that your will is considered.  You can make, or change, your will anytime during the divorce process.  You do not need to wait until you have your Decree Absolute, so make sure you take advice early on in the process.

Contact Rebecca or Joanna for further information on 0543 440 308.

5 Things You Need to Know about the new Inheritance Tax Allowance

Here are 5 things you need to know about the new Residential Nil Rate Band

    1. From 6th April 2017 each individual passing residential property to children or grandchildren will receive an extra
    2. £100k allowance (on top of the £325k that is already available) before Inheritance Tax is payable
    3. It will rise in increments of £25k per year until 2020-2021 when it will be £175k for each individual
    4. Where spouses or those in civil partnerships own a property they can combine their allowances
    5. If an estate is over £2m it will start to taper down (£1 is lost for every £2 over £2m) The main residence does not have to be owned at the date of death if eg if you have downsized to a smaller property

In order to benefit from the new legislation the Will must meet certain criteria and you should take advice on this. If you have a will which contains a nil rate band discretionary trust, it is important that you seek advice as the new Residential Nil Rate Band may not be available to you if you continue to use that structure.

If you have been thinking about reviewing your current Will or making a Will for the first time we can help and give bespoke advice fitted to your circumstances.
For an informal initial discussion, please get in touch with Rebecca Head or Joanna Parkin at Four Oaks Legal Services 01543 440 308 or e-mail info@fouroakslegalservices.com

Lasting Power of Attorney Fees set to change

Breaking News

As of 6 April 2017, assuming Parliament approves the relevant draft Statutory Instrument in time, the fees for registering Lasting Powers of Attorney are to be reduced from £110 to £82.  Now is therefore a good time to consider putting these useful documents in place.  If you require any further information, please contact Joanna or Rebecca on 01543 440 308.