When and why you should consider making changes to your Will. The experts at J Finance explain...
If you’ve got around to writing a Will you’re ahead of the game - but don't get too complacent! If you have experienced a major life event such as a divorce or birth of a child, you need to take a second look at your Will to ensure that, should anything happen to you, your loved ones are taken care of as you wish.
Getting married or entering into a civil partnership?
Remember that as soon as you marry, any Will
you already have in place is revoked (unless you wrote it with an explanation
that the marriage was about to take place and provisions made in it had taken
that into consideration). The same applies for civil partnerships. However, in
Scotland the law is different.
You must rewrite your Will to include your new child or they won't be a beneficiary - even if you have already included your other children. Remember that if you have a new grandchild, you need to include them in your Will too.
A death in the family?
If a beneficiary of your Will passes away, it is important you change your Will, so that you can ensure the gift you had allocated to them is shared as you wish, rather than it going back into the estate.
Getting a divorce?
While your Will won’t actually be invalid if
you should die after divorcing but before making a new Will, any bequests to
your spouse or civil partner will be treated as if they had died on the date
you divorced, with any cash or gifts going into the estate residue. Indeed, if
you have written a Will stating that everything passes to your spouse or civil
partner, then it would be as if you died without leaving a valid Will
Another point to consider is that if your
spouse or partner was named as an executor or trustee, they would no longer be
able to carry out that role if you die after a divorce or dissolution of a
civil partnership. (Again, this is not applicable in Scotland).
So how do you change a Will to take into
account these major life events? It may not be necessary to write a new Will -
it is possible to make some changes using what is called a Codicil. This is a
kind of supplement to a Will and is for simple and straightforward alterations.
If you are making small changes such as altering the amount of a gift you are
leaving, or changing the name of an executor, trustee or guardian, a codicil
will do the job. The codicil must be on a new piece of paper and should be
signed, dated and witnessed.
However, if you are making major changes such
as changing the main beneficiary (after a marriage or divorce for instance), or
setting up a trust for a new baby, then a new Will is the answer.
No Will at all?
If you haven’t got
around to writing you Will yet, please don’t continue to put it off. If you’re not married, and your home is not in
your partner’s name, they could lose it in favour of your children, siblings,
parents – or even the state. Dying intestate (ie, without a Will) can also make
sorting out an estate far more lengthy – and even costly; they may have to hire
a lawyer to fight their case for them.
You could also subject your family to all kinds of unpleasant disputes if you haven’t made it clear how your estate should be split. You may have told your favourite nephew that he can have your vintage car if you die, but that promise will be worth nothing if it is not written down. You also need to consider who will be guardian to your children should the worst happen and both parents die - be aware that if no arrangement has been made, the courts might have to make that decision for them.
Finally, no one likes paying tax - and making a Will can ensure that as much of your legacy is passed on to the people you care about, rather than going to the taxman.
Speaking to a specialist will ensure you get everything right - don’t assume that you won’t be leaving enough for it to matter!
If you would like to discuss any changes to your Will, we would be happy to help. Please contact us without any obligation.
Established in Berkshire in 2004, J Finance Ltd is one of the leading financial planning companies in the area. We serve clients across the South of England including Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hampshire. If you would like to discuss this subject or any other financial matter, without obligation, please contact us on 01635 521 300 or email@example.com .
J Finance Ltd has added another string to its bow with the announcement that it has been given approval by Help to Buy South to help home buyers access the Scheme.
The latest accolade for the Berkshire company – which was founded in 2004 and is jointly owned by Directors’ Jonathan and Sallie Bright – means that it can now help would-be home buyers acquire a property using the government’s Help to Buy Scheme. The advisers work with clients across the South of England including Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Hampshire.
The Help to Buy Scheme has been introduced by the government to help working people take their first steps towards buying their own property. It is also available for subsequent purchases.
A Help to Buy Equity Loan , meanwhile, provides the cost of 20% of a newly built home – leaving the buyer to find just a 5% deposit, along with a mortgage for the remaining 75%.
There is also Help to Buy: Shared Ownership , where payments are divided between rent and mortgage.
J Finance will assess the entire market to establish which products and services will work best for each client.
As well as mortgage advice, the financial advisers help their clients with everything from investments to pensions and insurance advice, and pride themselves on providing reliable, unbiased advice and guidance.
Jonathan Bright, Managing Director at J Finance Ltd, welcomed the news, saying: “We are all looking forward to working with our clients and hope that we can now bring something extra to our current offering, and help more of them reach their goal of buying their very own home.”
For further information, visit the webpage here , or contact Jonathan Bright on tel: 01635 521300.
The ‘pension freedoms’ introduced in April 2015, by the then
Chancellor, George Osborne, started a pension revolution.
This has significantly changed the way in which an individual can access their pensions, and the ideals of freedom, control and simple inheritance have captured the imagination of many pension holders. This desire for change also extends to people with final salary pensions, to whom the freedoms are largely unavailable.
Jonathan Bright, MD of J Finance Ltd said, “There has been an increase in people looking to transfer to a personal pension arrangement and take advantage of these new freedoms. If you are in a final salary pension, you can usually transfer to a personal pension, as long as you are not already taking your pension.”
Final salary pensions in brief:
If you have a final salary pension, effectively you own a deferred annuity. Annuities are insurance contracts that give guaranteed income payments, but are inflexible, lock in current interest rates and lock out further investment opportunity. Further, they give you little ability to control your retirement income.
If you want flexible income payments or want more control over your pension funds, then a final salary transfer gives you the option to cash out of a potentially expensive insurance and take advantage of the new flexible pension freedom rules. Furthermore, as the cost of annuities have soared so has the cash value of transfer offers, meaning you could benefit not only with the freedoms but also financially.
Reasons to stay with your final salary pension:
- You’re attracted by the thought of a secure
lifetime income, with limited risk and with no effort on your part.
- You have no or little experience of looking
after investments or savings and don’t want the responsibility.
- The defined pension benefits offered by the
scheme exactly match your yearly income requirements based on what you think
you will need during your retirement.
Drawbacks of a final salary pension:
- On your death, you can only pass benefits to a spouse, partner or dependent child aged up to 23 years of age, or in full time education.
- These schemes are inflexible and funds can only be taken based on the scheme’s rules.
- If you have no partner or qualifying dependents, when you die, payment of your benefits will stop, even if you have received them for a limited period.
Compelling reasons to consider the transfer your pension:
- You will have more flexible access and won’t be tied to
any pre-defined guarantees.
- If you are single or divorced, childless or no longer have children in full-time education, you will be able to pass funds to any beneficiary.
- You will be entitled to a 25% tax-free lump sum and the flexibility to take the remainder as income subject to your personal retirement requirements.
- Transfer values are at historically high levels
Things to be aware of:
- some advisers will use an externally produced and
semi-automated report which can throw up misleading calculations. Check that
any report is personalised to your own needs and wishes.
- having secured a generous transfer offer from your Final
Salary Pension provider, you don’t want to lose it, so beware of unregulated
investment schemes (UCIS) and plans that take a greater amount of investment
risk than you are comfortable with. Discuss this with an adviser before you
you may incur advice
fees, pension account fees, fees for administering withdrawals or fees for
investment and fund charges. You may want to seek a quotation from a number of
advisers to ensure the amount you pay for advice is competitive.
Talk to a pension specialist:
As the ‘pension freedoms’ now allow funds to be passed on to any beneficiary, you might wish to transfer to a personal pension arrangement in order to protect your wealth and have more flexibility, rather than accept the pre-defined guarantees of a defined benefit scheme. Anyone with a defined benefits transfer value of £30,000 or more, is now required by law to take advice from a UK registered ‘Pension Transfer Specialist’ before a transfer can be completed.
Your individual situation will determine the way forward.
Please note, there is no commitment, no charge and the enquiry will not affect your current benefits.
Bright concluded, “There are a number of important things to consider before transferring your pension, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly and it can be confusing. J Finance is regulated by The Financial Conduct Authority and we will be delighted to make enquiries about your pension on your behalf, with no obligation and no fee”.
If you have
one or more Final Salary Pension schemes, aren’t currently taking your pension
and would like to find out more, please contact Jonathan Bright, Managing
Director at J Finance Ltd on telephone: 01635 521 300 or by email to
The rules on how you can access your defined
contributions pension savings from age 55 have changed. For further information
on ‘Pension Freedoms’ and the changes that came into effect in April 2015,
J Finance Ltd is regulated by The Financial Conduct Authority. You can check the details of regulated financial advisers and Firms on The Financial Conduct Authority’s website www.fca.org.uk/register .