What is Estate Planning?
During your life you build up a personal wealth – this may include savings, investments, possessions or property. Estate Planning involves taking steps towards protecting what you own from threats that can arise in later life and after your death. It is also an opportunity to make your wishes known.
How can we help?
We've teamed up with The Will Writing Company, part of the Estate Planning Group, to offer a range of Estate Planning services to our members that can fit your personal and family circumstances – from basic wills to protecting your assets against the various threats you may face in life such as incapacity through an accident or illness, and sideways disinheritance through re-marriage. Our Estate Planning Consultants will be happy to discuss your individual circumstances and help find the right solution for you and your family, giving you that all important peace of mind.
By making a will, you can appoint the people of your choice to deal with your estate and include the people you want to benefit from it. This will spare your family added complications at a time of deep sorrow and is the only way to make sure that your assets are passed on in accordance with your wishes. If you die without a will, which many people do, your assets will be distributed in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy which may well produce a very different result to what you wanted.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document which empowers people you trust to make decisions regarding your property and finances or health and welfare questions on your behalf if you were no longer able, or willing, to do so yourself. If you were to lose capacity through an accident or illness such as a stroke or dementia, someone will need to make decisions for you. Without an LPA in place, your loved ones will have to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order. This could take several months and can be very costly, adding to the stress and upset caused by your ill health. They would also have to produce an annual report and accounts, put up a surety bond and be interviewed by a court officer periodically. They also have to reapply every three years.
By having an LPA, these potential complications can be avoided.
A basic will addresses your wishes, but can only go so far to protect your estate and beneficiaries from other threats, which can mean that further, more comprehensive estate planning would be required.
Marriage automatically revokes any previously made wills and so the re-marriage of the surviving spouse could potentially disinherit all children, relatives, and other beneficiaries of the first spouse.
Beneficiaries that are in receipt of Means Tested Benefits could see their income affected if they were to receive an inheritance.
Vulnerable or disabled beneficiaries may not be able to manage their money correctly, or responsibly, if they were to receive a lump sum inheritance.
By using certain trusts in wills, these potential threats can be avoided.
A will is a unique document. If the original, signed will cannot be found then your estate would be treated as if you hadn’t made one and your estate would then be distributed in accordance to the Rules of Intestacy. It’s important that you consider the associated risks with keeping the document at home (such as fire, flood, pests etc.) and making sure that it is accessible to your executors. Part of the service from the Estate Planning Group is that they can offer you a safe and secure environment to store your will and other legal documents at no extra cost. As an additional benefit, all wills written will be registered on the National Will Registry so that your executors will be able to locate your will with ease upon your death.
What to do next?
To speak to one of our Estate Planning Consultants, please get in touch on 0345 601 3344 or visit your local branch. All initial appointments are free, with no obligation to proceed, and can be held in your local branch or at your home if you wish. Furthermore, if you’re an existing member of The Cambridge, you qualify for a Members Rate on a basic will.