Page 82 - Marlborough Living Nov/Dec 2019
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                legally speaking
We speak to Jenna Hann, of Charlton Baker Accountants, to find out why you shouldn’t delay when it comes to drawing up a will...
 How long does it take to draw up a will, and who should be involved in doing this? Drawing up a will does not have to be
a long and complicated process. Our aim is to ensure that the process is quick, informative and affordable. By writing a will now, it greatly reduces the time spent in dealing with your estate in the future.
You do not need to involve others when writing your will although it is advisable to discuss with your executors (the people you appoint to administer your estate) to ensure they are happy and willing to assist you. Wherever possible, it is also advisable to discuss your wishes with your loved ones to avoid any future conflicts.
Many people think that Wills are important only to older people – but this is not the case, what is the relevance to the rest of us? If you do not have a will in place, everything that you own must be shared out according to set rules defined by law which may not be the way you want it. A will makes it much less time consuming and stressful for your family or friends to sort everything out should anything happen to you as well as ensuring your wishes are met.
Life changes can have a huge impact on your estate e.g. if you have recently married; your existing will is automatically
invalid unless a contemplation clause was included. However, if you have recently separated from your spouse, this does not invalidate a will, meaning your estranged spouse could still benefit from your estate. For inheritance tax (IHT) purposes it is important to have a will in place as the tax arising depends on how much wealth you have and who you leave it to.
Families are much more complicated than they used to be
in some cases, how can we ensure that the people we love are protected? If you have children or loved ones who depend on you financially or you would like to leave something to people outside of your immediate family, it is important to make a will.
If you are unmarried, your partner would not be automatically entitled to your estate regardless of how long you have been together. The same applies for step-children or foster children; they would not automatically inherit unless they are specifically included within your will.
If you have minor dependents, making a will is the only legally binding way to decide who you would like your children’s guardian to be. If you do not have a will in place to appoint guardians, children can be placed in care until the court appoints official guardians to look after them.
Don’t forget about your pets, they need looking after too!

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