Impending changes in the laws around inheritance tax should be the trigger for people to get their affairs in order and prevent potential family feuds.
Margaret Rowe, a Partner with FBC Manby Bowdler, said only 64 per cent of people aged over 55 have made their final wishes clear in a will and a staggering 73 per cent of 16 to 54-year-olds don't have one.
And as Margaret explains, the death of a loved one and dividing up their estate can cause serious family fallouts, so it’s best to stipulate your wishes clearly before you die.
“One in five deaths allegedly sparks a family row with many people starting to argue over the will before the person has even died! Arguments can be triggered by anything from what music to play at the funeral to what to do with an inherited property.
“The one way to prevent family disputes is to make a will, clearly stating what you would like to happen at your funeral and with your estate. This is more important than ever due to the changes that the inheritance tax system will be facing in the coming years.”
From April 6 next year, a ‘family home allowance’, eventually worth £175,000 per person, will be added to the existing £325,000 tax-free threshold.
This will be worth £100,000 in 2017-18, £125,000 in 2018-19, £150,000 in 2019-20, and £175,000 in 2020-21. It means people can pass on assets worth up to £500,000, including a family home, without paying any inheritance tax. For married couples and civil partners, that would give a total of £1million to pass on.
Margaret said: “To qualify, you must own a property on or after April 2016 and it must be left to someone who is closely inherited, such as a child or grandchild.
“With increasing numbers of families in existence including spouses and civil partners, former partners, stepchildren, and half siblings, and changes to the law, it is crucial to get legal advice to make sure your wishes are carried out.”
Margaret is a Partner in the Wills, Probate and Lifetime Planning team at FBC Manby Bowdler and specialises in all aspects of wills, probate work and elderly client matters, including estate planning and succession. Margaret's experience means that she can advise on the full range of private client matters from Court of Protection work to Inheritance Tax Planning.
Margaret is a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and also a member of Solicitors For the Elderly (SFE). If you'd like to know more, you can contact Margaret on 01952 208433 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.