Reviewing Your Will Before Going On Holiday
Our wills and probate solicitors regularly receive phone calls from clients before they go on holiday.
They want to make or update their wills in case the unthinkable should happen.
It’s a wise precaution for two reasons (but please don’t leave it until the last minute).
Firstly, you should always review your will from time to time to ensure it still accurately reflects your finances and your family circumstances.
And secondly, consider this: you and your family will be travelling on holiday together. All in the same plane, on the same coach, in the same hire car.
Certain rules come into effect if – heaven forbid – the worst should happen and you all die together. One such rule is Commorientes (Section 184, Law of Property Act 1925).
If two or people die at the same time and it is uncertain who died first, the Commorientes rule assumes that the deaths occurred in order of age seniority. So for legal purposes, the younger survives the elder – if only by a second.
This matters when it comes to your will. It could affect your bequests.
You can avoid the Commorientes rule with a survivorship clause in your will but careful drafting is required.
A survivorship clause states that a beneficiary can inherit only if they survive for a given period of time after the death of the testator/testatrix (the person who made the will).
This saves the assets from having to go through probate more than once in a short space of time. It saves you time and money – and also gives the testator/testatrix an extra degree of control.
A survivorship period is usually 30 days but can be as long as six months.
However, in some circumstances a survivorship clause can create inheritance tax (IHT) disadvantages for spouses and civil partners. So it is essential to get proper advice.
For expert legal advice on making or reviewing your will, contact Coles Miller Partner Stuart Bradford, the head of our Probate Department. Phone him at our Poole office (01202 355695) or at our Wimborne office (01202 355699).
* Have you suffered a serious injury or illness abroad? Were you a victim of clinical negligence in a foreign hospital?
Read how our No Win No Fee personal injury solicitors can help you to claim compensation to fund your treatment and care plus other expenses such as repatriation and loss of earnings.
Coles Miller’s Personal Injury Department is led by Partner Adrian Cormack. Contact him on Poole 01202 355695.