There is little that we can do to protect our nearest and dearest from the natural sadness that they will feel when we pass away. We can, however, take steps to ensure that their sorrow is not worsened by any unnecessary expense or stress. One way of doing this is by writing a will. There are several reasons for writing a will, the most important of which are set out below.
Why Should I Make a Will?
Writing a will allows you to keep control of what will happen to your assets after you die. Without a will, a set of rules known as the intestacy rules will determine how your estate is distributed and this may not turn out to be the way you wanted it to be, especially if you are cohabiting or have stepchildren – who the intestacy rules no not cover – or wish to make provision for someone outside of the family.
By writing a will you are able to appoint a person or persons to manage the distribution of your estate. Without a will, a close relative will normally have to apply to the court to be appointed administrator. Administering a will can be time consuming and stressful and it may be something that you would rather be taken out of the hands of your grieving relatives than left for them to deal with.
By making a will you are able to take steps to reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax that is payable by your estate. Without a will, you are, once again, subject to a set of fixed rules, which may result in a substantial tax bill, reducing the amount that your beneficiaries ultimately receive.
You can set out any special wishes that you have regarding issues like whether you want to be buried or cremated or how you wish your funeral service to be conducted. Doing so avoids the potential family fallouts that may happen if there is no will that gives such indications.
The process of writing a will is straightforward and, although it is likely to involve some expense, it could well save you money in the long run. The process of administering your will is also something that you can deal with in advance - through a prepaid probate arrangement.
What is Prepaid Probate?
The distribution of your cash, property and assets under the terms of your will, known as probate, can be an expensive process. Most estates are distributed by a bank or a solicitor and they frequently charge a percentage of the value of the estate, regardless of the amount of work that is ultimately required. This can result in substantial probate charges if the estate is large, even if the work required is reasonably straightforward.
An alternative way of paying for the costs of handling your estate is through a prepaid probate plan. This type of arrangement involves paying a fixed amount that will cover the cost of the probate. The amount of the payment is generally based on an assessment of the complexity of the estate and the work that is likely to be required to administer it rather than simply its size.
Why Prepaid Probate?
The main benefit of a prepaid probate plan is that it gives you certainty about the costs of the administration of your estate, which are paid at current prices.
It also secures the arrangements for the management of every aspect of the process, including identifying and valuing your assets, settling any bills and distributing the net proceeds of your estate to your beneficiaries.
Finally, prepaid probate removes the stress of arranging the probate of your estate from your relatives at what will already be a distressing and emotional time for them.
Making advance provision for what will happen to your assets when you die can relieve your loved ones from unnecessary stress and expense when the day arrives and writing a will and entering into a prepaid probate plan are two effective ways of achieving this.