What is a will?
Do I need a will? Yes! A will is a legal document expressing your wishes in regards to the distribution of your estate including property and other assets. It should set out who you want to manage your estate (the executor), who you want to benefit from your estate and what happens if your beneficiaries were to die before you. It also sets out your wishes regarding the care of children who are still minors.
Why do I need a will?
It is important to have a will to ensure your estate is distributed according to your wishes. Dying without a will is called dying Intestate. When you die intestate your estate is distributed according to the Rules of Intestacy which is set out by the government. These rules set out a list of next of kin who can inherit in an order of priority. This order may not reflect how you would have wanted your estate distributed.
The rules of intestacy also do not make any provision for unmarried partners or partners who are not registered in a civil partnership. Your estate will be distributed to your next of kin leaving your partner not provided for. This could leave your partner in financial difficulty and in some cases homeless.
It is also important to note that if you marry after your will has been written that your will becomes void. If you are separated you may want to change your will to reflect the change in circumstance. For example, if you have a new partner you may want to leave your assets to them rather than your ex-partner or if your ex-partner is living with someone else who you would not like to benefit from your estate.
If you have children you will need to make provision for them, most importantly making arrangements for their care if both parents were to die. This could also mean setting up trusts to protect for your children’s future.
Dying Intestate can also in some circumstances create disputes among family members. Varying opinions on how to handle the Deceased’s assets can cause confusion or disagreements of who should take on responsibility as an administrator and what their role is. In turn this can create friction and in some cases can lead to lengthy and expensive contentious court cases.
It is also possible to reduce your exposure to Inheritance tax in a well-planned and correctly executed will. This in turn could save your loved ones time and hassle, as well as protecting them financially. Having a will can in some cases reduce the chance of being asked for probate and therefore in turn save your beneficiaries some of their inheritance. Even if you do require probate having a will can make the process significantly simpler and quicker again saving you money on solicitors fees.
If you are looking to make a will and are not sure where to start give us a call on 08007318722. We have a specialist panel of experienced and qualified solicitors who are able to advice and help you prepare your will.