How to make sure probate is painless for your family

Make a will
This may seem like stating the obvious but around 2 thirds of British people die intestate each year. When there is no will, the estate is divided in accordance with the rule of intestacy. Many people assume that their children or partner will be provided for, but unless you have made a valid will, this is not strictly the case.
 
Keep it updated
A will should be updated regularly. Even if your circumstances haven’t changed you ought to have it checked over every few years. There may be assets you haven’t accounted for, such as a new vehicle or holiday home which can make your will incomplete.

Make provisions to lessen inheritance tax liability
If there’s a chance your estate will exceed the IHT threshold, don’t let 40% of this be swallowed up in taxes. If you’ve made a will and sought advice from an estate planning specialist, then you ought to have this covered. But remember that tax laws change frequently so it’s sensible to keep abreast of what’s happening.
 
Give careful consideration to who you appoint as executor/s
Give a lot of thought as to who you would like to represent you and handle probate. You should take many factors into account such as the person’s age, where they live and their family situation. Think about their character traits and their ability to handle such an important task. Select the most qualified person for the job. 
 
Consider the implications of professional fees
If you are thinking of appointing a legal professional to act as your executor, make sure you are fully aware of the costs involved. Ask how much they will charge for their services to act, and for probate and estate administration. Your representative will be under no legal obligation to renounce their position and your loved ones may end up paying extortionate costs.
 
Be open with your family
By being open about these matters, you can help to prevent conflict later on. Make the existence of your Will known and tell your family when you update it. Clearly communicate your how you want your personal effects to be handled as this is often a source of conflict in families.

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