The basic simple Will, or mirror Wills for couples set out who you wish to deal with your estate, and who benefits. These are cost effective to set up and easy to administer. You can also stipulate your funeral wishes, appoint guardians and make specific gifts i.e. of jewellery or certain items.
However, these types of wills are not usually advisable in cases or second marriage or in terms of planning to protect assets against bankruptcy, divorce, care homes fees and are not suitable if you wish to ringfence assets for certain beneficiaries i.e. if they are disabled or in receipt of means tested benefits.
Lifetime interest trust Wills or Protective property trust Wills as they are sometimes called are used widely by cohabitees or those on their second marriage to protect 50% of a property for future generations of the family and from being used up in any bankruptcy petitions, divorce proceedings or care home fees.
In these circumstances, a property owned as beneficial joint tenants will be changed so that the property is owned as tenants in common. We can check how you hold a property at the land registry and change this if necessary. Each respective 50% share of the property can then be distributed to the chosen beneficiaries in the Will. However, this will be subject to allowing the other owner the right to reside in your 50% for the remainder of their lifetime or until certain triggering events such as remarriage of cohabitation.
During the right to reside, the life tenant will be given the right to downsize but any surplus capital form any sale will be directed to the ultimate beneficiaries of the 50% share.
Discretionary trust Wills and Flexible life interest trust Wills are also an option which allow you to place assets into trust. These assets are then managed by the trustees who are selected by you. The beneficiaries only receive assets at such times the trustees decide and in such amounts as the trustees decide. This is in relation to both capital and income.
These trust mechanisms are useful to protect against bankruptcy or divorce of any of the beneficiaries, care home fees, means tested benefits but also from any potential challenges from disgruntled family members. It also provides a fund for future generations of the family.
It is important to put in a place a Will that caters to your specific requirements so call us today to book your free initial consultation on 01423 564551.