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12th August 2021

Top 10 myths about making a Will

Top 10 myths about making a Will

1. “My common law husband/wife will inherit my Estate if I don’t have a Will”

Contrary to what many believe, “Common law marriage” does not exist in England and Wales. As such, whether you have been with your Partner for 1 month or 10 years, if you do not leave a Will, they may not inherit anything from your Estate.

The intestacy rules, which apply when someone dies without leaving a Will, do not provide for long term partners to inherit. If you are in a long-term relationship, writing a Will is crucial if you wish for your Partner to inherit from your Estate when you pass away.

2.“I don’t need a Will. I am married so my spouse will inherit my Estate regardless.”

Many assume that if they are married and pass away without leaving a Will, their entire Estate will pass to their spouse. This may not be the case. If someone dies without leaving a Will, the intestacy rules dictate where their Estate is to pass.

The intestacy rules specify that a first £270,000 of a person’s Estate will pass to their spouse, if they are married and die without leaving a Will. If the value of an Estate exceeds this amount, the remaining Estate will be divided between their spouse and any children that survive them.

3.“My Executor cannot be my beneficiary.”

The Executors appointed in your Will can also inherit from your Estate. This is the case whether those Executors are inheriting a small item, specified sum of money or the entire Estate.

4.“When I die, my debt will die with me.”

If you have any debts when you pass away, these Will be settled from your Estate before your assets are distributed to your beneficiaries. This means that, if your debts are equal to or more than the value of your assets, your beneficiaries may not inherit anything at all.

5.“I don’t own very much, so I don’t need a Will.”

Not only does your Will set out who will inherit anything you own when you pass away, it also allows you to appoint Guardians of any minor children that survive you and direct who will deal with your affairs when you die. Having a small Estate does not make a Will any less important.

6.“I am too young to write a Will.”

Whilst it is easy to put it to the bottom of the list, making a Will is important for every adult no matter their age. Sadly, we cannot predict the future, but by making sure you have a valid up-to-date Will, you can ensure your loved ones are protected should the worst happen.

7.“My Executor’s will not have to apply for probate as I have written a Will.”

Having a Will does not alleviate the need to apply for probate. Whether probate is needed depends upon what a person owns when they pass away and who their Estate is passing to.

 8.“Executor’s and Attorney’s are the same thing”

Executors are appointed to deal with your Estate when you pass away. By contrast, if you appoint an Attorney under a general or Lasting Power of Attorney, they will assist in dealing with your affairs during your lifetime, for example if you ever become incapacitated.  The two roles do not overlap and the authority of your Attorney will cease when you pass away at which time, your Executors become authorised to deal with your Estate.

9.“My friends and family know my wishes so I do not need a Will”

Simply telling your friends and family what you would like to happen with your assets when you die is not enough. If you do not prepare a Will, the rules of intestacy will govern where your Estate will pass and this may not be to the beneficiary or beneficiaries you intended.

10.“I made a Will many years ago, so I don’t need to think about it anymore.”

Circumstances and laws change, so a Will you made many years ago may no longer meet your wishes effectively. It is important to review your Will regularly to ensure that it remains up to date and that your wishes have not changed.

At Ellisons our specialist Private Client Solicitors are able to help you plan for your future. By instructing our respected Wills, Trusts and Probate Solicitors in Essex and Suffolk you can plan ahead making sure your family is provided for in the future. Contact the Ellisons’ specialist Private Client Solicitors today on 01206 764477 or email us at [email protected].

Article by:

Lauren Hancock

Solicitor

Phone 01206 764477

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