Why you must review your will
This information has been prepared by Sykes Anderson Perry Limited as a general guide only and does not constitute advice on any specific matter. We strongly recommend that you seek professional advice before taking action. No liability can be accepted by us for any action taken or not taken as a result of any information or advice given or omitted.
Once a client has executed their will, they often ask when it should be reviewed. The normal answer to this are:
- Every few years (3, 5 or 10 depending on circumstances),
- Every time there is a life event (marriage, divorce, death, birth).
When reviewing your will, it is wise to also review any lifetime arrangements and/or gifts you wish to make or have made.
However, at present there are two other very good reasons for reviewing your will, particularly if you have any foreign elements in your life.
EU Succession Regulation
The first is the EU Succession Regulation, also known as Brussels IV, which will make significant changes to what law applies to your estate, if you are either resident in an EU country (other than the UK, Ireland and Denmark) or have assets there. The headline of “now English law can apply to your French property” is only one small part of the picture. The operative word is can not will, and what law applies when, and the consequences of this are only just being understood. It will be very easy for unwary clients to accidentally create a huge tax bill in their estate, perhaps even exceeding the value of the assets.
If you have any property of any type (moveable assets or real estate) in an EU country (other than the UK, Ireland and Denmark), you should review your will or wills, even if you don’t think that your will applies to these assets. Likewise if you live, or have recently lived in an EU country (other than the UK, Ireland and Denmark), you should review your will or wills.
UK domicile rules in 8 July 2015 Budget
The second reason for reviewing your will at the present time is that in the 8th July 2015 Budget, George Osborne announced some changes to the UK domicile rules. These will make significant changes to when UK inheritance tax will apply to someone’s estate. In particular, British people who think they have lost their UK domicile of origin, may well find that becoming UK resident is sufficient to revive it. Tax residency and domicile are complex and technical areas of law, and with the recent changes, any advice you have obtained should be reviewed. You should also review your will or wills as part of this process.
Nicole Gallop Mildon
Solicitor and diplômée notaire
Sykes Anderson Perry Limited
5th Floor Salisbury House
London EC2M 5QQ