Wills, Codicils & Trusts are essential legal tools for estate planning and asset distribution. A Will serves as a written declaration of a person's wishes for their possessions and dependents after their death. Codicils are used to modify or supplement existing Wills. Trusts allow individuals to set aside assets for beneficiaries, managed by trustees in accordance with the creator's instructions. These mechanisms ensure a smooth and secure transfer of assets according to the individual's desires.
Writing a Will can be confusing, especially for elderly clients. Even if you would like all your possessions to go to your partner or next of kin, it is important to show that in a Will. Many do not realise that without doing so, your possessions may not automatically go to your partner.
Wills are also used by some people to leave donations to charities close to their hearts. It is important to remember Wills are not just for the elderly.
It is recommended that everyone write a Will in their adulthood in case the worst should happen. It is also important to keep your Will up to date in the event of major life changes such as marriage/divorce, the birth of a child or purchasing a property.
Louise Deere, Head of our Private Client department, has over fifteen years’ of experience and is a fully accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly.
Codicils are amendments or additions made to existing Wills, providing a way to modify specific provisions without creating an entirely new Will. However, it is important to note that Codicils may not always be appropriate, and in certain circumstances, it may be more prudent or legally necessary to draft a new Will. Significant changes, complex updates, or potential confusion arising from multiple Codicils can be better addressed with a fresh Will. Seeking professional legal advice can help individuals make the right decision and ensure that their testamentary wishes are accurately and legally reflected in their estate plan.
Trusts are legal arrangements that allow individuals to set aside assets to be managed and distributed by appointed trustees for the benefit of beneficiaries. There are various types of Trusts that serve different purposes, such as revocable and irrevocable trusts, testamentary trusts, and living trusts. Trusts can help mitigate estate taxes, protect assets, and provide ongoing financial support for family members, especially minors or individuals with special needs. By placing assets into a Trust, individuals can exert greater control over their distribution and specify the conditions under which beneficiaries receive the benefits. Trusts offer a level of flexibility and customization not always achievable with a standard Will, making them a valuable tool in comprehensive estate planning.
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