If you are an expat will writing and trusts makes it clear what should happen to your money, your property and your possessions when you die. It gives you control and options and it means that you can give your loved ones, both friends and family, opportunities after you die.
Making a will can seem daunting but it is much easier than most people think and a failure to do so means that the state will decide how your estate is passed on, which may not be in accordance with your wishes. Having a will in place will also save your family unnecessary stress at a difficult time.
When an individual fails to make a will he dies ‘intestate’, which means that his or her estate will be distributed in accordance with the ‘rules of intestacy’. That could result in the estate not being distributed in accordance with the deceased’s wishes.
In addition to avoiding the rules of intestacy, there are a number of personal reasons why it is important to make a will:
- to make provision for your children regarding guardianship and how they will be provided for
- to leave money to your favourite charity
- to maximise tax relief on your estate for your beneficiaries
- to indicate your funeral requirements
- to distribute your assets and personal effects in accordance with your wishes
- In spite of these compelling arguments, a recent poll of 2,000 adults found that 58% of the UK adult population do not have a will.
Should you protect your wealth with a will?
The vast majority of people put off making a Will for a variety of reasons, either believing that the people they would wish to inherit will automatically do so, or because they don’t think it is relevant to them at this particular time.
The reality is that you can put off making a Will until it is too late and this poses all sorts of problems for the people left behind and could mean that some, or all of your inheritance, either goes to the wrong person or to the state.
Everyone needs to make a Will. In particular, anyone with dependant relatives must do so. Anyone who owns a property or has any type of asset which you would wish relatives, friends or charities to benefit from should also make a Will.
Making a Will enables you to plan exactly what will happen to your property (estate) following your demise. This ensures that those you would like to benefit actually do so, in accordance with your wishes and at the same time avoiding any disputes between relatives. Its always best to plan in advance to protect your estate.
Don’t let your legacy be dictated, contact UK Expat Pension Reviews now to ensure you have an up to date will in place.
UK Expats Based Overseas And Having A Will
There are an increasing number of expat families for whom ‘home’ or even ‘nationality’ is a sticky topic. Parents who were born in the UK but live elsewhere are raising their children as UK citizens even though many have never set tiny foot there. For partners and couples who are different nationalities, the complexity increases yet further, as children are raised bridging cultures, languages, identities and borders. Where is ‘home’?
These international families accumulate assets wherever they reside. They will have multiple states laying claim to their citizenship. They will have family and friends spread across the globe. Cross border estate planning in these circumstances has its unique challenges, the biggest of which is often – who and where?
What is Estate Planning?
When will writers talk about estate planning, they are simply acknowledging the additional activities that go hand in hand with writing your will to ensure that your final wishes can be met simply and effectively.
By undertaking planning and administration in life, you can eliminate any uncertainty around your legacy and the distribution of your estate – simply everything that you own. Addressing these issues now can ease the burden of probate for your grieving loved ones and give you peace of mind.
Often the questions we need to ask to write your will can be the catalyst for other activities. For example, you will be asked detailed questions about your finances – pensions, insurance policies, stocks and savings. This may prompt not only the collation of this information for your will executors but also a wider financial review. Is your wealth working for you?
For anyone with a possible death tax liability, calculating that liability now may allow for mitigation of all but the minimum amount payable. Life insurances and other policies are available to allow you to cover that liability and ensure that your beneficiaries receive what you intend.
Estate planning is not just for the wealthy or retired, although it obviously becomes a more pressing issue as we age. Even if your assets are modest, it is important to maximise them for your beneficiaries with some careful planning.
Don’t be caught unawares from an inevitability, the best time to start estate planning is now.
Here we explain will writing and trusts!
Family structures can be complex and stressful, so it’s important to have the type of Will in place that best reflects your circumstances and wishes. Including a trust within your Will can give you the reassurance and peace of mind that you can protect and control what happens to your assets and property after you die. Will writing and trusts go hand in hand in protecting a persons estate to the persons best interests.
A trust is a legal arrangement where you give cash, property or investments to someone else so they can look after them for the benefit of a third person. So, for example, you could put some of your savings aside in a trust for your children. Money or property held in a trust is no longer legally yours therefore it does not form part of your estate when you die. You can set up the rules of the trust so, for instance, if you leave part of your estate in trust for your children you could stipulate that they can only gain access to it upon reaching the age of 18. A will trust is any trust created by an individual’s will. It comes into effect on the testator’s death.
Trusts can perform a wide range of different functions. The following shows some of the most common family situations where trusts are often used:
- To look after your spouse/partner after you have died, whilst at the same time making sure your children’s inheritance is protected
- To provide for vulnerable family members, for example somebody who is disabled and may not be able to look after their own affairs
- To protect the inheritance of beneficiaries who are bankrupt or likely to divorce
- To protect your assets (as far as possible) from the impact of care home fees
To minimise the burden of Inheritance Tax (IHT).
- Creating a will trust may require additional expertise, for example an independent financial advisor may be consulted where investment is required or a solicitor will assist with any life time trust creation. We can guide you through the process of creating a trust to manage your legacy after your death,
How can i protect my property abroad and investment property using a will?
For most people, their most valuable asset is often their home and it is often passed through generations. But how do you gift by will a property you don’t reside in, only partially own or have never even set foot in?
Whether you still have a family home in your country of origin, have invested in student housing in the UK, have a holiday home in France or have bought a new home in your adopted country of residence, all of these properties devolution will be governed by the law of the country in which they are situated.
You will also have to consider the debt attached to any property and how this should be met in the event of your death. Is there a mortgage on the property? Do you have insurance in place to cover this debt if you die? Should your beneficiaries sell the property to cover the debt or is it important to you that the house remains a home? All of these questions need to be addressed in parallel with the drafting of your will.
So if you have a share of the family home in Wales, a flat in Hong Kong and a beach hut in Indonesia, all of these properties are under a different civil law and will each require a will that meets the legislature of that territory. It is advisable that these individual wills deal solely with the assets in the country to which they are drafted and that the chain of succession they create is coordinated.
Executors and Guardians
If you are writing your will, there are some key people you need to nominate to act in the event of your death.
When a person dies their “executors” (if the deceased left a will) or “administrators” (where there is no will) have the task of dealing with the deceased’s estate. The process of dealing with the estate is referred to as “probate” or “administration”, where there is no will.
Executors and administrators normally have to apply for a “grant of probate” (if the deceased left a will) or “letters of administration” (where there is no will) before they can deal with the deceased’s estate. A grant of probate or letters of administration gives the executors or administrators the legal authority to deal with the deceased’s estate and allow them to sell the deceased’s property, for example. This is a hands on role and for those of us living in the developing world or regimes with unfamiliar legal processes, it could be a professional executor may be required to navigate the paperwork of your demise and legacy.
If executors are the administrators of your estates, your nominated trustees will manage your financial legacy. They will make decisions about your wealth and investments. Whilst they can be the same people as your executors, if your estate is complex and there are large trusts involved it would be wise to appoint professionals.
You can also use your will to appoint guardians for your children. This can be a difficult decision for international families – where and how do you want your children raised in the event of your untimely death?
Deciding who should act on your behalf in the event of your death is a difficult decision and deserves careful consideration as well as consultation with anyone whom you are considering appointing.
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