Have a will
If you do not have properly executed wills for your immovable and movable estate which disposes of your assets upon death, then Jersey intestacy laws will determine the distribution and who administers your movable estate. If you wish for your estate to be passed to specific loved ones you should always consider making wills.
Don’t lose the will
First and foremost at the risk of stating the obvious don’t lose it – if given the choice it is usually advisable for your lawyer to retain the original copy of the wills. Your lawyer will provide you with copies. In the unfortunate circumstance that the wills are lost it is sometimes possible (but not always) to prove a copy will for probate purposes. If not then, you run the risk your estate could fall into intestacy.
Finding your assets and contact details of loved ones
This is often a neglected issue but it is an important one. You should always consider how your executor will ascertain all of your assets. A list placed with the will or in a readily accessible place could save your testator a lot of time and money.
Don’t forget to check your wills periodically
It is always advisable to check how your wills are structured every few years. For many people, wills are relatively straight forward in that they provide for the deceased spouse and children. However, your will may request specific assets to loved ones which may not now be appropriate or the named beneficiary may have passed away. In the latter case, you could find that a specific bequest may end up passing to the residue estate if that beneficiary has passed away.
Beware using online DIY wills
It is not advisable to use online DIY wills in Jersey. The law relating to wills is not the same as that in other jurisdictions. For example, there are a number of formal requirements that need to be met for a will of immovable property and a will of movable property which are dictated by Jersey Statute. Without complying with the formality requirements, you run the risk that your will may be invalid under Jersey Law and that your immovable and/or movable property may pass under intestacy and not to the person you wished to leave it to.
Consider carefully how you purchase immovable property
If you are planning to buy immovable property in Jersey with someone else, you should consider whether to buy the property as joint owners, rather than owners in common. If you hold immovable property as joint owners, then the property will pass on survivorship to the surviving owner without paying any additional stamp duty. However, if the immovable property is held as owners in common, your share will pass in accordance with the terms of your will (or under intestacy) which may attract considerable stamp duty (some exceptions do however apply).
Consider carefully what happens if a minor inherits property?
Under Jersey Law, a Tutelle is required when a minor (a person under the age of 18) inherits property or assets under a will. A Tutelle is akin to a form of trust. The cost of setting up a Tutelle may well exceed the value of the bequest.
How Parslows can help
Parslows Wills Succession and estate planning team provide an exceptional service to all our clients.
Our Wills Succession and estate planning lawyers are focused on providing you with expert advice with a truly personal service.
We advise on all aspects of Wills Succession and estate planning: whether it be advice on a standard will or something more complicated involving a trust.
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The information and opinion expressed in this briefing does not purport to be definitive or comprehensive and are not intended to provide professional advice. For specific advice, please contact Parslows, We are not responsible for, and do not accept any responsibility or liability in connection with, the content of this document or any reliance upon it