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Gullands solicitors warn on Wills with top heavy legacies

Those who have made Wills but haven’t recently reviewed them may find that legacies and gifts included when the economy was a little more buoyant now leave little available for family and friends, warns Gullands Solicitors.

Alex Astley, partner at Gullands Solicitors comments: “There are a couple of reasons that this tends to happen.  Firstly the fall in property and share prices may mean that the estate isn’t as large as when the will was drawn up.  In addition, if the Will leaves specified amounts rather than percentages of the total estate, this also can result in too small a pot remaining.

“The second issue is where an elderly person has gone into a nursing or care home and their property is going to be sold to pay for the fees.  This again may mean that there is a much smaller pot from which to make the legacy payments.”

Alex continues: “For example, if an individual has sold their home for £200,000 to pay for care fees and lives for a number of years, the local authority will pay for all the fees once that person has just £14,250 left in savings.  If they had made a Will and intended to leave £10,000 to charity and the rest to their family and hadn’t adjusted the Will, the family would only receive £4,250, which may not be what the deceased had intended.”

Alex offers this advice: “It is always worth reviewing your Will – say every five years or so – as conversely there may also be cash legacies that you wish to increase in line with inflation as the amount specified may now seem too small, or you may wish to include new individuals or charities.”

Alex concludes: “Leaving legacies as a percentage of the total estate may be the best option or perhaps wording the document in such a way as to allow for the situation where the payment of nursing home fees has reduced the estate below a certain figure.  A Will can be very flexible and should be an accurate reflection of your final wishes.”

For further information contact:

Matt Baldwin, Coast Communications
Tel: 01233 503200 / 07930 439739

Alex Astley, Gullands
Tel: 01622 689700