Many people think they do not need to make a Will because the Rules of Intestacy will make sure their closest relatives inherit their money and property after their death. But these rules were originally drafted in 1925 and do not cover many common family situations today. You need a Will:-
- If you live with a partner without being married or in a civil partnership. (Without a Will your surviving partner will have no provision at all after your death under the Intestacy Rules and could even face losing their home).
- If you want to protect step-children. (Your relationship with them is not recognised in the Intestacy Rules).
- If you want to benefit a friend, a charity or another clause close to your heart on your death. The Intestacy Rules will pass your estate on to a fixed list of relatives. Your assets will be transferred to the Crown if all relatives who fall into these categories have died before you.
You can use a Will to name Guardians for minor children after your own and your partner’s deaths. You can also appoint trusted people to look after the money your children will inherit and make sure they receive it when they are mature enough to deal with it.
Many people do not believe they are wealthy enough to need a Will, but if they own a house, their total assets may exceed the inheritance tax threshold. A Will is part of sensible tax planning and special arrangements can be set up to look after vulnerable people.
A badly worded Will can lead to bitterness and confusion in the family, unintended consequences and expensive legal proceedings. It is worth taking professional advice to avoid this.
It is worth reviewing your Will regularly so that it matches your circumstances. You should consider reviewing your Will in the following situations:-
- If you are getting married (earlier Wills are automatically revoked on marriage).
- If you are separating or divorcing (when you may want to change the people who benefit on your death).
- If you are marrying again.
- At the birth of minor children or grandchildren.
- When you acquire important assets such as a house.
Contact Sian Whittaker on 0207 629 9905 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org for expert help.