Benjamin Franklin in the 18th Century observed that there are two certainties in life: death and taxes. His observation is just as valid today. They affect us all. In these library articles I will explore legal issues relating to the two subjects of death and taxes.

A good starting point is to consider the subject of making a Will.

In simple terms, a Will is a declaration of intention made by an individual in a prescribed form, which will take effect upon death. It is revocable until then.

Statistics indicate that as many as seven out of ten people do not have a Will. The reasons for not making a Will are obviously unique to the individual and can range from a fear of one’s own mortality to the perceived expense and complexity of putting in place a Will in the first place.

The process itself is not complicated and the advantages are many, as listed below:

  1. You decide who receives the assets within your estate upon death.
  2. The rules of intestacy will be avoided. Parliament has laid down the rules in relation to the distribution of an estate where a person dies without making a Will. A Will overrides these rules.
  3. You can choose your own executors and trustees, i.e. the people responsible for acting in the administration of your estate and any continuing Will Trust.
  4. The Executors derive their authority from the Will itself, and can act in the administration of an estate before the Grant of Probate is obtained.
  5. A guardian of infant children can be appointed.
  6. Special arrangements can be incorporated e.g. directions as to burial or cremation.
  7. Trustees powers can be extended in order that they can act with greater flexibility than otherwise would be the case.
  8. Wills are an effective vehicle for financial planning in the context of long term care.

For further information upon this subject contact Peter Kirrane or Dot Sharpe at the Dewsbury Office in West Yorkshire.

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