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Legal News | 14.07.22

Perhaps your crown jewels shouldn’t stay hidden in your treasure chest?

If you are the proud owner of a Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime (the most expensive watch in the world), then it is likely that you will have specifically mentioned within your Will or accompanying letter of wishes, to whom you would like such an heirloom to pass. However, what happens to those other possessions – trinkets, photographs, diaries – that have not been specifically mentioned in your Will? How will they be divided between the beneficiaries of your Will if no directions have been given?

While these items may not be worth a fortune in monetary terms, they may hold significant sentimental value for your family members and friends. Without specific mention in your Will, there are no laws stipulating how such personal items should be divided between your beneficiaries; instead an agreement must be reached. With emotions running high and the added joy of family politics, such negotiations can become fraught and the smallest item can cause a considerable family rift. For example, you might consider that dog figurine that has sat on your mantelpiece for decades to be an eyesore, yet for cousin Betty it holds valuable memories and she may be willing to fight cousin Edith through the courts for the right to keep that figurine after your death.

In order to minimise the risk of disagreements, you could consider gifting your precious possessions during your lifetime. Not only does this reduce the risk of squabbling when you are gone, but it means you can also see your loved ones enjoy the items whilst you are still here. Failing that, clear guidance either within your Will or in a separate letter of wishes as to who gets what is a sensible route to take.

NB. Trust Registration Service
If you are the trustee of a trust, now is the time to check whether you need to be registering the trust with HMRC’s Trust Registration Service (TRS). Following the recent introduction of the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5MLD), with a few exceptions, all non-taxable express trusts are now required to register. If you are unsure as to whether your trust requires registering, please get in touch as we can help.

If you would like to discuss making lifetime gifts or reviewing your Will or need assistance registering a trust, please get in touch with your usual contact or email wealth@wansbroughs.com


Posted By Our Wills, Tax, Trusts & Probate Team