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20/20 T H E C OMMU N I T Y


WHATWILL YOU DO?


ANNE HEMBRY MANAGER, PROBATE & ESTATES Voisin


JANINA PORTER


ENGLISH SOLICITOR Voisin


If you have not yet done it, then you should think about making your Will – the knowledge that you have put down your final wishes in writing may well take a weight off your mind.


Many people consider making a Will when major events occur in their life, such as the birth of a child or buying a new house. While such events are obviously important triggers that necessitate careful consideration, there are a number of matters to consider when making a Will and here Anne Hembry and Janina Porter of Voisin’s Probate and Estates team review a few of them.


Executors You must consider whom to appoint as Executor. The appointment entails, in essence, collecting in the assets, settling the liabilities, and distributing the estate in accordance with the terms of the Will. Your Executor may well have to apply for a Grant of Probate. Guidance on the process involved can be obtained from a Solicitor or Advocate who can assist with the application. Would you wish a family member to undertake this responsible task at a time of bereavement? If not, perhaps an independent third party, such as your accountant or lawyer could be appointed?


Beneficiaries You should consider the nature and value of your assets and liabilities and the way you wish your estate to be divided and shared between beneficiaries. Perhaps you wish all of your estate to pass to your immediate relatives? If you have young children and are very much a


‘family unit’ you should go one step further and consider the remote possibility that there could be a ‘common disaster’ (sometimes called a ‘family tragedy’) where there may not be any survivors of your immediate family as the result of an accident. Who would inherit then? A ‘family tragedy’ clause would confirm this and would avoid your estate passing to unknown relatives inheriting under the intestacy rules contained with the Wills and Successions (Jersey) Law 1993.


Illegitimacy Under Articles 2(1) and 4(1) of The Legitimacy (Jersey) Law 1973 (‘the Law’) a child is illegitimate if the mother and father were not married when the child was born or conceived and have not subsequently


married. Although Article 11(1) of the Law states that an illegitimate child is treated the same when inheriting from their mother it is not the case from their father. Until recently, only if the father specifically named that child in his Will would the child have inherited from him. There could have been a situation whereby if the illegitimate child’s father died his estate could passed to the father’s brothers and sisters, for example, leaving the child with nothing.


In response to calls for the Law to be amended, the States of Jersey recently passed the Wills and Succession (Amendment) (Jersey) Law 2010, which comes into force on 29 January 2011. The amendment opens succession


rights to illegitimate children. Such children will, under the new Law, be placed on the same footing as legitimate children for the purposes of succession.


Charities Legacies in Wills are one of the main sources of income for charities in Jersey and the UK and are therefore crucial to the continuing operation of many charitable organisations that benefit the whole of our society. Incredibly, only around one-third of the UK population actually make a Will and currently, it is estimated that approximately only five per cent of the population leave a gift to a charity in their Will.


In current times when the economic climate is difficult, donations to charities can fall as people become concerned about job security or may have already lost their main or only source of income, and so legacies in Wills are perhaps now more important than ever.


Finally, it is advisable to review your Will at least every five years, or earlier if there is a change in circumstances.


You can contact either: Anne Hembry


(annehembry@voisinlaw.com) or Janina Porter (janinaporter@voisinlaw.com) of Voisin’s Probate and Estates team for a free consultation to discuss your circumstances in absolute discretion, and receive expert advice on all aspects of making your Will.


There will be a 20% discount for readers who quote the code 'Voisin 2020'. 20:20 92


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