Most people know the importance of making a Will, but according to family law specialists April King Legal there are several other simple legal processes which could save people money, time and heartache.
“The solution is for couples to simply not leave everything to each other in the first place. What my grandfather could have done is leave his half of the house in trust to his children, stating that they couldn’t have it while his wife, my grandmother, was still alive. We call these Property Trust Wills.”
“If my grandfather had left his half of the house in trust to the grandchildren than when my grandmother subsequently received care in her later life she would only have been means tested on her own half of the house, but my grandfather’s half would have been safe. Why should he have to contribute his half when he didn’t receive any care?”
“The important factor is that couples need to act in advance. Once one party dies or loses mental capacity, through a stroke for example, then they are no longer in a position to do this legitimate and straightforward type of planning. It is therefore important for couples to act now even if they may not foresee care fees being an issue.”
Paul goes on to explain a further important point. Most clients he sees are surprised to learn that remarriage usually cancels a Will and makes the spouse next in line to inherit, ahead of their own children! Protecting your half of the house in this way, he suggests, ensures that your children ultimately inherit when the survivor dies.
“Had my grandmother remarried after the death of my grandfather the whole estate could have passed sideways out of the family,” says Paul.
“It’s another important reason for home-owning couples to upgrade to a Property Trust Will.”
“I’ve experienced this in my own family and I’m sure most people have had similar experiences or heard of someone who has. Bloodline Trust Wills give greater protection to your children.”
Paul continues: “These things can be avoided by having a Bloodline Trust Will.”
“These type of Wills not only give your children complete control and access to the inheritance they receive from you, they also grant added protection from the twists and turns of modern family life.”
“The wording in these wills states that any money left over on their demise must pass to any children born of them – your grandchildren.”
“Once again, all adults should be thinking of this, particularly when there are children or a business involved.”
“It’s not just something to think about when you get older, that’s the challenge for us.”
“People think, ‘I’m not ill, why do I need to make a Power of Attorney?'”
“But they’re missing the point. This is a document that has to be done in advance.” Paul adds: “The next part is to appoint the attorneys, your children. Don’t forget, your children can be executors of your Will and attorneys as well.”
“The Lasting Power of Attorney remains in place until you die unless you want to cancel it. Once it’s registered, you don’t have to worry if you then develop some debilitating illness. A burden has been removed from the family at an already difficult time.”
DID YOU KNOW?
If you have a child who has separated but yet to divorce then their ex is still next in line to inherit from them over and above your grandchildren from that marriage.
Should your son or daughter inherit from you before their divorce is finalised then they could end up having to share that inheritance with their estranged spouse.
April King have prepared a free information pack that shows you ways to help prevent this happening and keep inheritance in the family bloodline.
Jenny answers your frequently asked questions
Q. We’ve made Wills with another firm – can we still come to you?
A. Yes, around 90% of our clients come to us having previously made Wills with another firm.
Q. How do I gift items such as jewellery?
A. You can do one of two things. Either gift them in the Will or we can give you a codicil gift list for you to complete. These ‘gift lists’ do not need to be completed at the time of making the Will so you can take your time over this. Further, you can update or change these codicils at any time and as often as you like at no cost.
Q. If we protect our respective half share of the home from a survivor’s care cost fees, can they move to another property or downsize?
A. Yes, these provisions are written in the Will.
Q. Do you do home visits?
A. Yes, we are happy to visit you at home at no extra cost although it is better if you can come and see us as we have the relevant computer links to the Land Registry etc.
Q. We have not heard of Bloodline Wills before, is this new?
A. They are a type of Discretionary Trust which has been adapted to fit the needs of modern family structures. There are only a few firms who specialise in this type of planning and April King is one of them.
Q. Who is April?
A. April originally stood for the Association of Practicing Independent Lawyers. In 1996 April Law merged with King & Co to form April King. Paul King is the Director and Head of Client Services.
Q. Where are your offices?
A. We have 29 offices across the East and West Midlands, and we also offer home visits at no extra charge.