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5 common estate planning mistakes to look out for

Ensuring you have taken the time to prepare a will to suit your personal and financial circumstances, will minimise the stress and complications for your family and friends.

In order to help you safeguard your Will and help you on your estate planning journey, we have compiled a list of 5 common mistakes that are often made when people write a Will.

1. Assuming your finances are simple for estate planners

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that our finances are simple for others to comprehend and deal with, after all the majority of the population haven’t got the financial assets of the likes of premier league footballers or Bill Gates.

Many assume that because their financial assets are modest they don’t need to create a Will to ensure they are protected after their death. If there is no Will, then intestacy rules will apply.

At present, the intestacy laws in the UK don’t offer any protection for unmarried partners. This could mean that without a Will your assets could be divided in a way that your surviving partner might not be expecting, resulting in confusion and financial hardship at a time of grief.

In order to avoid this scenario, always make sure that you clearly detail how you want your estate to be divided.

2. Forgetting to update a Will

You’ve been to see a solicitor and organised your Will and so your work is done right?

Sadly it isn’t. Life is unpredictable and the person you wanted to leave your assets to may now be your worst enemy.

Whether this is the case, or you’ve simply changed your mind about an aspect of your Will, it’s important to keep your Will up to date.

Remember that Wills are living documents that should reflect your last wishes at any given moment.

Deaths, births, and divorces in your family may impact your decision when deciding who your beneficiaries are going to be.

When planning what will happen to your estate after you are gone, it’s important to remember that beneficiaries on any life insurance policies will receive the money regardless of what your Will says. Therefore it’s always a good idea to update your Will and any other plans that you may have taken out, at the same time.

3. Not expecting the unexpected

As with any aspect of life, unexpected things are prone to happen without warning. To combat any such scenario, it’s always a good idea to set aside some funds for an emergency.

The same concept applies to estate planning.

No one knows what lies around the corner, marriages end, businesses go into administration and loved ones may become estranged.

It’s not uncommon to see disputes between children and second spouses arise in the event that the deceased forgets to leave to clear instructions about what should happen to their estate.

4. Naming an unreliable trustee

Being a trustee of an estate is a very big responsibility and not a role to be taken on lightly.

It can potentially involve a lot of paperwork and handling large sums of money.

Make sure that when you appoint your chosen trustee, you are picking an individual who can cope with the emotional strain and the responsibility of carrying out your wishes.

Also, ensure that you include a provision in your Will that allows for the trustee to be removed if needed.

5. Not including digital assets

At the time of writing the digital currency known as Bitcoin has unprecedented value. 1 Bitcoin currently equates to nearly £5450. This signifies that digital assets are becoming increasingly important and increasingly valuable.

Social media accounts are also becoming career paths for many, whether they promote their own brand or others and are proving to be valuable sources of income.

With this in mind, it’s essential that you take your own digital assets into account when the time comes to plan what you want to happen to your estate after you have passed away.

Through estate planning, you can make arrangements to transfer passwords for online banking apps, as well as the transfer of important digital documents that you may be storing online.

Our expert team of Wills solicitors can also help you arrange what to do with any social media accounts you may own.

You can opt to have them transferred, live on in memoriam or even have them deleted, just be sure to include your desired choice in your Will.

In order for your appointed trustee or the executor of your Will to manage your online accounts, they must have consent, therefore if you do decide to have your accounts continue, you must express this wish in your estate plan.

Conclusion

All 5 of the points above are common mistakes made by those planning and taking steps to complete their Will.

By properly considering the above information, you will be able to leave clear instructions which should see your family in good hands after your death.

We here at Thorneycroft Solicitors pride ourselves on our estate planning services, offering a sensitive and professional service to ensure your wishes are respected after you have passed away.

Our team is led by a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) who has over 20 years experience in drafting Wills and planning estates, meaning you are guaranteed to receive only the highest level of service.

If you are looking to safeguard your family’s future and create a Will then our Wills and Probate team will be happy to help.

To speak to a member of our team, give us a call today on 0800 1979 345 or complete our online enquiry form and a member of our team will get back to you at a more suitable time.