Succession Law

Succession Law

Succession Law: the​ Importance of​ Having a​ Will
Although we​ might not like to​ think of​ it,​ death is​ a​ certain fate for us all .​
When we​ pass away,​ our families will go through a​ stressful and traumatic time as​ they come to​ terms with their loss .​
At the​ same time,​ there is​ a​ requirement for the​ administration of​ our estate,​ and this is​ usually bestowed upon a​ close relative or​ friend during this already painful time .​
However,​ a​ lack of​ foresight and planning can be catastrophic,​ leaving behind a​ tangle of​ assets and liabilities and possibly a​ hefty inheritance tax bill,​ depending on​ jurisdiction .​
On top of​ that,​ the​ absence of​ a​ will can mean a​ distribution of​ assets on​ the​ basis of​ standard 'default' rules,​ rather than on​ the​ basis of​ your individual preferences .​
In this article,​ we​ will look at​ some common provisions in​ the​ absence of​ any will,​ and aim to​ justify the​ benefits of​ making a​ comprehensive and clear will during your lifetime.
Most jurisdictions will bear some liability to​ tax on​ death .​
This can be a​ specific problem for the​ administrators of​ estates,​ usually close friends,​ who must ensure every known asset and liability is​ accounted for before making legacies and signing off the​ tax bill .​
a​ major problem comes with the​ personal liability attributed to​ the​ administrators,​ which means that should anything 'slip through the​ net' which is​ later discovered,​ there may be increased liability to​ tax .​
In practical terms,​ this could mean a​ surprise bill for several thousand which has already been distributed in​ legacies and for which the​ administrator must personally account .​
Providing for these outcomes in​ a​ will is​ one of​ the​ best ways of​ avoiding this hassle and stress,​ and it​ can also be the​ best way to​ ensure all assets and liabilities are uncovered .​
By drafting an​ effective will,​ you can be sure your loved ones don't face financial hardship after you're gone .​

In the​ absence of​ a​ will providing specifically for the​ administration of​ a​ deceased's estate,​ it​ is​ up to​ the​ laws of​ intestacy to​ determine what happens to​ the​ entirety of​ our worldly possessions .​
Unfortunately,​ this doesn't usually correspond with the​ way we'd like things to​ turn out .​
For example,​ in​ a​ number of​ jurisdictions there are automatic provisions for spouses and kids,​ meaning you can disinherit,​ even with a​ will .​
There is​ also usually a​ default order of​ preference of​ who gets what and how much they get,​ which doesn't necessarily match your favourite relatives,​ or​ correspond to​ actual family set ups .​
In fact,​ cohabiters might run into problems getting anything,​ including the​ house in​ which they live without proper testamentary provisions in​ their favour.
As you can see there are a​ number of​ obvious benefits to​ drafting a​ will during your lifetime .​
Sadly,​ many thousands of​ people die each year without making these provisions,​ and it​ really is​ a​ real headache for their friends and relatives who are left with the​ burden of​ a​ fair settlement .​
Intestacy causes hostility and stress,​ which can be readily avoided by just simply making a​ written will .​
If you haven't made a​ will,​ it​ is​ probably a​ good idea to​ make a​ appointment as​ soon as​ is​ convenient with a​ legal adviser to​ do so,​ to​ ensure your family are provided for as​ you would intend and to​ promote a​ favourable distribution of​ your estate on​ death.

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