Carey Olsen has produced an advisory video to help Guernsey residents to negotiate the island’s new inheritance law, which came into force last month. It is available online now at http://www.livinginguernsey.co.uk/inheritance.html.
Carey Olsen advocates Davey Le Marquand and Russell Clark (pictured) said that the new law presents challenges and opportunities that did not exist in Guernsey previously. They encourage Guernsey residents to carefully consider how the new law affects them and their families. The new law allows for complete testamentary freedom which means that a person can leave their property to whomever they wish, bringing Guernsey into line with English inheritance law. It also allows for claims in the Royal Court for a share (or increased share) in the deceased’s estate after the person’s death if they believe that they have not been reasonably provided for. “In a will you are going to want to appoint someone to administer your estate and give you peace of mind that everything is going to be handled properly,” Advocate Le Marquand said.
“You need to give consideration to choosing the beneficiaries that are going to receive all of your assets and you need to look at the wider concepts of deferring your assets because, if something tragically happens and you have young children, you want to protect them as well. There are a lot of provisions you can set up to protect them in addition to guardianship provisions and having your wishes put forward after your death.”
Advocate Russell Clark said a will was no place for surprises.
“A lot of family strife and conflict arises because the testator (the deceased) has not been open with their families about the provisions of their will and they come as a surprise to the beneficiaries,” he said.
“I always advise my clients that the will is not the place to put surprises, and that you should be able to explain to your family what it is you are intending to do in your will. So that, when the will is open and emotions are very raw, people do not respond in a way that is likely to create family difficulties.”
Advocate Le Marquand concluded that: “You are leaving family members and, in surprising them, resentment can come in and you are then leaving your family with problems which you probably tried to avoid in making the will. A lot of thought needs to be given to that.”
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