Unbelievably, it is still the case that most people pass away without leaving a valid Will in place. In these circumstances, the statutory law (the Intestacy Rules) will determine who is entitled to administer and inherit your Estate, however these rules are very strict and do not always provide the outcome you might intend.
Did you Know that Under the Intestacy Rules:-
- Spouses do not automatically receive 100% of your Estate.
- Marriage revokes former Wills and the Intestacy Rules will then apply to your Estate.
- Children may not inherit.
- Unmarried partners do not inherit.
- No living relatives? Your Estate could pass to the State. If you make a Will you can choose to give your Estate to Charity/friends.
By completing a Will you can retain choice and control over what happens after you die. A Will makes it easier and cheaper for your Estate to be administered as there will be clear instructions as to what your wishes are and it will lower the risk of claims against your Estate.
Your Will can include:
- Who you want to be responsible for administering your Estate and implementing the terms of your Will.
- Who should benefit (and who should be excluded!) under your Will, the proportions that each beneficiary should receive and any conditions or restrictions which should be applied.
- Specific Gifts – of personal possessions, monetary legacies or shares in property or businesses, on such terms as you specify.
- Funeral wishes.
- Guardians for your children under 18, and financial arrangements for them.
- Inheritance Tax planning which can potentially reduce the inheritance tax liability.
If you have a Will it is important it is kept up to date. Look at it annually and when any major life events occur to ensure that it remains appropriate.
It is tempting to put off writing or updating a Will but when it has been completed, you will achieve the peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out after your death, which is invaluable for both you and your loved ones.