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Wills for Members of the Armed Forces
At Armed Forces Claims, we believe strongly in ensuring our clients are equipped with the best possible support. Part of that support is to help our clients be prepared for what the future may hold and help them to protect their loved ones in the event the worst happens.
Making a will forms a key part of that protection. If you do not have a will, you don’t get a say over who receives your money, property or possessions in the event of your death and therefore don’t get to have that peace of mind that those you love are taken care of in the event of your death.
Why Should You Make a Will?
A will outlines your wishes for what you’d like to happen to your possessions, your money and your property (known as your estate) when you die and makes sure that the people most important to you are taken care of. If you die without a valid will, the law dictates who benefits from your estate. This might mean that those closest to you won’t stand to inherit anything if you die without a will in place.
If you have children under 18 years old, you can specify who will look after your children in the case of your death. Without a will, you will have no say in this, and no say as to whether they inherit anything from you.
Without a will, common law partners and partners who haven’t registered a civil partnership can’t inherit from each other. If you are separated but not divorced, your estranged spouse will inherit your estate.
You can also appoint the executors and trustees that you’d prefer to oversee your estate. If you don’t have a will, the law will dictate this.
If you already have a will in place, we would recommend a review of your will every two to three years. It is particularly common in the armed forces to make a will when you are quite young, and name one of your parents as the main beneficiary of the will. It is entirely likely that your personal circumstances will change after you make your initial will (e.g. you may meet someone who becomes your partner), and you should update your will to reflect those circumstances.
Ultimately, having an up-to-date will ensures that your wishes are expressed and will be met; your estate will be managed by the people you want it to be overseen by, go to the individuals you’d prefer it to be distributed to, in the way you’d like it to be distributed.
We’re happy to talk you through any questions you may have about the issues around having a valid will, and help you understand what arrangements need to be in place for the people important to you to get what you’d like them to.
Are there any financial benefits to having a Will?
As well as making sure that your estate goes to the right people, there are some great financial benefits to having a valid will in place.
You can make sure that money you’ve received as the result of a personal injury claim, or an Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) claim is properly distributed in the event you haven’t spent this money, or are holding it in a trust. You can make a provision in your will to ring-fence this, or any other money, and address who should receive the money in the event of your death.
If you want to ensure that your children inherit from you, but you don’t think it’s appropriate for them to inherit at 18 years old, you can set up flexible provisions to make sure they get the money you want them to, at the time you feel it will best help them.
If your spouse receives means-tested state benefits, you can create a trust to make sure that their right to receive these benefits isn’t lost when you die. You can also ring-fence money for the benefit of your surviving spouse against care home fees.
We can also help you look at what inheritance tax may be payable on your estate and how we can put a plan in place to make sure that your spouse and children are in the best possible position to maximise their entitlement in line with existing inheritance tax rules.
What should I do if I have a Will and need to change it?
If you have an existing will, such as the simple military will made using MOD form 106, you are able to make changes to it any time you wish.
It is common that members of the armed forces make wills when they are young, often earlier than civilians. You may find that you want to make changes to your will as your personal circumstances change. You may meet someone and make them your partner, you may get married, or you may separate.
Our expert solicitors can review your will for you, and make sure that it accurately reflects where you are in your life now, as well as carry out any changes you may wish to make, such as who stands to benefit from your will, who should oversee your estate in the event of your death, and who should take care of your children.
If you have any questions about this tricky element of will writing, we are happy to assist by giving you the advice you need to make sure your will does what you want it to.
Why choose Armed Forces Claims?
It is unsettling to think about what will happen in the event of your death, but ultimately making a will is a really positive act because it means you’re continuing to protect your loved ones. Making a will means that you have planned for your family’s future and you will get peace of mind knowing that they are looked after if you’re not there.
Our experienced will writing team is partner-led and between them has a lifetime of experience dealing with a vast range of different circumstances and situations. We will use this experience to give you exemplary advice, making sure that you have a bespoke will that meets your needs and takes into account the different scenarios you may need to plan for.
Because we understand that dealing with the financial and administrative detail of what happens after your death is tough, we will work with you to make sure that your affairs are handled with care, sensitivity and the utmost professionalism.
We pride ourselves on taking a practical, no-nonsense approach and are committed to making sure that whatever your needs are, we’ve got them covered.
Talk to Us
At Armed Forces Claims, our team of expert solicitors has your best interests at heart and we will talk you through what you’ll need to put the will in place that best serves you. We will walk you through every step and put your mind at ease. Call us on 0345 450 9547 or get in touch with us on the contact form and we will call you at a time convenient to you.