There is a common misconception among people in today’s society that you do not need to make a Will unless you are old. This stems from people living longer and better healthcare meaning most people think they will reach old age and believe it is not something they need to think about whilst they are still young.
Unfortunately statistics show that over half the population of adults in Britain have not yet written a Will. If you are one of the 59% of adults, then in the event of your death the rules of intestacy will apply. Many people are unaware that if you die without a will and do not have relatives by blood or marriage then your estate will pass to the Crown (basically the Queen). Do you really want that to happen?
We have identified 8 reasons below why everyone, no matter their age, marriage status or circumstances should have a will.
If you do not make a will then the government will decide how your estate will be distributed, this is known as dying intestate. Many people believe if they are married then they do not need to make a will as their assets will automatically transfer to their spouse but this is not necessarily the case.
If you die without a will and your estate exceeds £250,000 then your spouse will be entitled to £250,000 however anything over this amount will be split equally between any children with the spouse retaining a life interest.
You can also make a tax saving by distributing your assets in a certain way.
In the case where you are not married but you are in a relationship or cohabiting, the rules of intestacy mean that your assets will not automatically pass to your partner in the event of your death.
Aside from joint assets which pass to the remaining owner, your own assets will pass back to your next of kin under intestacy rules. This may mean your assets go to someone who you did not want to have them and in some cases can lead to inevitable disputes and the possibility that your partner could end up in financial hardship.
If you have not had an English marriage then you are not classed as a married in the eyes of the Law. If you have concerns on this then you can speak to our Family Law Team who can guide you.
If you are not divorced and you die without having made a will your assets under £250,000 will automatically pass to your ex-partner even if you are separated
The intestacy rules mean that if you are married or have blood relations then they will stand to gain something from your estate.
However, many people have important people in their life who do not fall under the term relatives, this can include carers, friends, godchildren, ect. If you were to die without a will then these people will not be considered during the administration of your estate.
For people with young children the making of a will is of particular importance, without a will in place the courts will decide where is best to place your children should both parents pass away, they may be placed with someone you would not want to raise your children or someone you may have a grievance with.
It is also equally important to think about providing for your children in your will and whether or not the guardian you will appoint will need financial help with raising your children.
Many people have assets or sentimental items that upon their death have a person in mind whom they would like to inherit these items. In the event of your death a will can make sure specific items end up with the person intended. This avoids family disputes over who should get certain items.
Gifts of up to £13,000 are also excluded from estate tax which makes giving gifts in a will all the more appealing.
Executors are appointed In the event of a person’s death and these are the people who oversee and manage the distribution of your estate. They pay bills, notify banks ect and play the biggest role within administration of estate.
A will allows you to appoint someone you wish to deal with your estate, this person does not have to be a family member but someone you trust and deem honest.
In what can already be an emotional time, having a will can avoid further upset and disputes between family members with regards to what your wishes may have been. Having a will means your wishes are down on paper for family member to see.