Life Insurance and Wills: Essential and Complimentary
By Rich Risino, Memery Crystal LLP
When contemplating how best to provide for family members should the unexpected happen, attention typically focuses on cash resources. Life insurance offers the most apparent solution; the cost can be modest, with easily recognised and ascertainable value. But if the premise of life insurance is to secure the future and cater for those left behind, what about the other assets?
Life insurance alone does nothing to ensure the other assets, often significantly more valuable are secured and devolved appropriately; the only way to achieve that is through the putting in place of a will. Where there is no will, the laws of intestacy in England and Wales are such that, depending on an individual’s circumstances, the outcome as to who benefits from the assets are often very different to what is expected and certainly different to how heirship functions in civil law jurisdictions.
A will is therefore an essential and complimentary companion to life insurance.
Life insurance can provide short term finance to cover the period immediately following the passing of a family member, and assist with tax liabilities or other liabilities. If structured correctly, it can also lessen the taxable estate.
A will is the perfect instrument to govern how best the family left behind might be looked after.
The thought process to put life insurance in place is not hugely dissimilar to that of putting a will in place: who benefits, what amounts, at what age, and why – all questions relevant to putting a will in place.
A will is hugely relevant for any individual owning UK-sited assets and certainly UK-sited real estate, whether those individuals are domiciled in the UK or not. The time and cost burden of proving non-UK wills and succession certificates is unnecessary, bearing in mind the modest cost of a well-drafted will and sensible life insurance.
Life insurance provides the cash security; a will provides capital protection and preservation – essential companions in estate planning.
Rich RisinoGGI member firm
Memery Crystal LLP
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Memery Crystal LLP is recognised as one of the UK’s top law firms in their specialist areas including real estate and tax, and regularly cited in Chambers and The Legal 500.
Rich Risino is a senior associate in wealth structuring. He focuses on advising HNIs, entrepreneurs and their families on asset and investment structuring, income, and capital taxation. Rich project manages instructions on behalf of clients, and often co-ordinates tax advice across several jurisdictions.
Published: Trust & Estate Planning Newsletter, No. 07, Spring 2021 l Photo: Miroslav - stock.adobe.com