‘Where there’s a will, there’s a war’: Only two thirds of Britons plan to share inheritance equally among their children
More than two thirds of UK adults plan to share their wealth equally among their children when it comes to leaving an inheritance.
Alcuni 68 per cent of Britons intend to divide their assets evenly, according to research by the investment management company Charles Stanley.
Di quelli, 55 per cent said they would divide the whole amount by the number of children they had.
Un ulteriore 13 per cent said they would take into account the financial support they had already given each child throughout their lifetime, using the inheritance to even things up.
The majority of people say they will split their wealth equally between their children
però, 16 per cent of Britons surveyed said they would not split their wealth equally, with a further 16 per cent saying they were yet to decide.
Asked for their reasons, some said they wanted to take into account each child’s personal circumstances, leaving their less well-off children more inheritance.
Others said the inheritance split would be based on how well each of their children had looked after them in later life.
What happens when inheritance is mishandled?
Unsurpisingly, the research found that parents playing favourites when it comes to their inheritance has a large chance of causing distress.
More than a third of UK adults claimed they would be upset if they received less than their siblings, while less than a quarter said they would not feel anything.
Middle-aged and older people were particularly sensitive to sibling favouritism.
Nearly half of baby boomers (invecchiato 54-74) said they would be upset if they were on the wrong end of an uneven split, while more than a quarter said they would feel betrayed if they received a lower sum than their siblings.
Inheritance remains a taboo subject for many, which means that lots of people failing to plan in advance.
Just one in five Britons said their relatives had talked openly about inheritance, so that it could be planned for as a family.
15 per cent of adults said that their parents either do not have, or did not leave, a will
More worryingly, 15 per cent said that their parents either do not have, or did not leave, a will.
Alex Price, director of financial planning at Charles Stanley said: ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a war.
‘A lot of the issues that can arise could be diffused by simply being open about plans and talking with family members about the decision-making process.
‘It’s not always easy to start those conversations as they can seem awkward and uncomfortable, but avoiding the subject is not the answer and could come at a price.
‘Not only could families lose out financially by not planning ahead and taking advantage of legitimate inheritance tax exemptions, they could also be leaving a legacy of family conflict which could be avoided.’
Speaking openly about inheritance as well as writing a will is not only a way to avoid family feuds, però. It can also be sensible from a tax perspective, especially if the estate in question would become subject to inheritance tax.
At present anyone can pass on £325,000 of cash and assets tax-free, but if you give away your home to your children (including adopted or foster children, or grandchildren) then this threshold can increase to £500,000.
So for a married couple with children, it is possible to pass on £1million in total.
If you die before making a will, any assets that can be found will be divided up following the rules of intestacy.
These are a set of traditional laws that define exactly who gets what.
però, these laws may not divide your estate up exactly how you would have liked, particularly if you want to leave money or assets to people outside of your immediate family.
Having your estate divided in this way could also lead to court applications and disputes, especially when there are children involved.
Making a will: A five-step guide
Alistair Spencer, associate at Lime Solicitors, offers the following to-do list.
1. Work out what assets you own
The value of your assets and how those assets are held, for example in property, shares and so on, will determine whether your estate might be taxed upon your death.
It is worth putting together a schedule of your assets and liabilities with at least approximate values, before attending a meeting with a legal professional to make a will.
The legal professional will consider what tax relief might be available, and the most appropriate and tax-effective way of structuring your will.
2. Decide who will benefit from your will
A legal professional will help guide you through the will-making process
Many wills are disputed because family members are left shocked and angry by the contents once a loved one has passed away.
This can lead to costly disputes and the will writer’s decisions being scrutinised and potentially changed.
This is why, once you’ve written your will, it is important that you communicate its contents with your family and friends to ensure there are no surprises down the line.
If the contents of the will could be seen as potentially contentious, it is often advisable to prepare a letter of wishes to be kept with it, setting out why you have made the decisions you have in your will and why certain people might be excluded.
3. Choose your executor
Ideally you should name more than one person to act as your executor, as this minimises the risk of both executors passing away before you.
You can also choose one or more substitute executors if the executors you have named are unwilling or unable to act.
Executors are the individuals who will carry out the terms of your will and sort out your estate when you die.
They should be individuals you trust implicitly, must be over 18 at the time of your death and must be mentally capable of doing the job.
If naming more than one executor, ensure as far as you can that the executors will be able to work together.
It might be sensible to appoint at least one professional executor, although there will be costs associated with this. An executor can also be a beneficiary of your will.
4. Find two witnesses
Any witness should be independent, so they should not be a beneficiary of the will or a spouse or civil partner of a beneficiary.
Any gift you make to the witness or to their spouse or civil partner will fail.
If you make your will via legal professionals they will usually provide the independent witnesses.
You must have a minimum of two witnesses and they must both see you sign or acknowledge the will in their presence before signing the will themselves.
5. Keep your will updated
In my experience, many people often forget to update their will after a significant life event and risk the document not outlining what they want it to do.
This doesn’t mean that you have to make a new will, as often the changes are quite straightforward.
Once you’re married, any will made prior to your wedding day will be automatically revoked – so if you do separate from your partner, changes need to take place to reflect the change in your circumstances.
It is not unusual to come across situations where an individual has passed away after divorcing but has failed to update their will, resulting in their former partner still benefiting from their estate.