The risks of not having a Will or Trust

We spend a lifetime building up our assets through hard work, and in most cases, would like to pass them on to our family safe in the knowledge that they will remain in their hands. Unfortunately, there are a number of issues that could either reduce the value of the assets we leave or take them out of the family altogether.

Here are the main risks:

  • Inheritance tax - if your estate is over £325,000, and you own a property, then a part of it could be liable for 40% inheritance tax if not structured properly within a Will maximising the Residential Nil Rate Band allowance
  • If you have children under the age of 18 when you die, you will not get to choose where they live unless you have specified this in your Will
  • If you have children from a previous relationship living with you, then your death could mean the family splitting up
  • Your complete estate could pass to people that you would not choose
  • If you are married, you may not get all of your spouse's estate upon death and vice versa
  • If you or your partner remarries after death, or divorce then your children's inheritance could be at risk should either of you then die before your new respective partners. The new partners would potentially inherit everything and not consider your children upon their own death
  • If your children inherit your estate upon your death and it is not protected properly, it could be at risk from bankruptcy or be diluted should one or more of them divorce
  • Living together without a civil partnership or marriage in place, meaning neither partner would automatically inherit anything upon the death of the other. This is further exacerbated if the property is not in joint names either and/or if one or either party is still married or in a civil relationship to/with a former partner
  • Pensions and life insurance not in trust for the intended recipient, meaning upon death it enters the deceased's estate causing the £325,000 inheritance threshold to be reached much quicker than it should
  • Having to have your home sold to pay for long-term care because the correct trusts and ownership arrangements were not put in place at the appropriate time