September is national wills month, a good time to write a will if you don't already have one, or to review yours if it is out of date. If you have insurance policies, annuities, group life cover and/or a retirement fund, there are things you should know when it comes to leaving instructions about who you want to receive the benefits after you pass away. Must a life policy be in your will? One of the benefits of a life policy is that it is possible to nominate a beneficiary. This means that on the death of the person assured, the policy is paid directly to the named beneficiary and does not go via the estate. These policy proceeds will normally still be deemed an asset in your estate and subject to estate duty (unless a limited exemption for buy and sell or key man policies apply). However, because the proceeds pay directly to the beneficiary, they will not be subject to executor's fees. They will also pay out speedily, and not be part of the lengthy process of winding up the estate....

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