People often ask, do I really need a Will? It is a good question; maybe you don't own any property or have many savings to leave to anyone, or perhaps you just want to leave everything to your spouse. Whatever your situation, you would be surprised at how much your estate could mean to someone, and writing a Will ensures that it will go to those you love most.
Many people think that a Will is purely for determining who will inherit any property or savings you may have; however, there is a lot more that your Will can do for you. For example, a Will can allow you to pass on family heirlooms to the right person, leave a gift to charity, or even make sure that your children are raised by the people you select. It also allows you to choose who will execute your Will by naming executors.
Our expert Will consultants would be delighted to chat with you to discuss what you want your Will to cover and ensure that it meets every need.
What happens if I don't have a Will?
Without a Will in place at the time of your passing, the courts will handle your estate according to Intestacy Rules. These rules make up a standardised procedure for distributing a person's assets after they pass away. Unfortunately, it can take a long time to process your estate in this way, and those who you would have liked to provide for may receive little or even nothing at all, whilst others may benefit where you did not wish them to.
Who should make a Will?
Most people would benefit from having a valid and up-to-date Will in place, whether they have millions of pounds in the bank, a couple of sentimental trinkets, or even a beloved pet who will need a new home. As indicated above, Wills can meet a wide range of needs, so they are something to consider whatever your circumstances.
Additional considerations should be made if you:
Have children – though no one likes to think about it, if you pass away before your children reach adulthood and there is no other parent around to take care of them, not having a valid Will could leave your children's fate in the hands of the courts. This will likely happen even if others are aware of who you would have picked as guardian. Naming a guardian(s) in a Will ensures that your wishes are upheld.
Have more than £325,000 in assets – if you have a large pool of assets with a value that outweighs any liabilities by over £325,000, your estate may face hefty inheritance taxes. However, a qualified Will consultant can use your Will to minimise the tax levied against you, meaning that more will find its way to your loved ones.
Have separated from your spouse – if you have separated from your partner but are still married or in a civil partnership, then they will still inherit most of your assets if you pass away without a Will, regardless of whether this is what you wanted.
Have an extended family – if you have an extended family, such as stepchildren or stepsiblings, that you would like to benefit in the event of your death, you will need to make this clear in a Will. Under the rules of intestacy, they will be ineligible to receive anything.
Are not married to your partner – unless you are married or in a civil partnership, your partner will not inherit anything when you pass away. This may even result in them being unable to remain in your shared home.
Even if you do not fit into the above categories, it is still a good idea to write a Will if you have any concerns regarding who might benefit after your death. My Will Expert can help put your mind at ease with a no-obligation consultation.
I already have a Will - how can you help me?
It is important to ensure that your Will remains valid through all of life's ups and downs. As things change, whether you have children, lose or gain a loved one, or any other significant event occurs, you should take the opportunity to re-evaluate your Will and make any necessary changes to reflect your new situation.