Everyone chooses to try and ignore the inevitable – death. As they say, very few things are guaranteed and, sadly, death is one of those.
It is however essential that you take time to seek advice and consider the needs of your loved ones in the event of you no longer being around to care for them. Without a Will you are leaving the ultimate destiny of your assets to chance or the Rules operated by the Common Law – and it’s not just about money or assets. Who cares for any of your minor children under the age of 18 should also be a major consideration.
Just some critical reasons why a Will may be essential:
- Don’t assume your partner will get everything – Even if you are married, or in a civil partnership, your entire estate will not automatically pass to your spouse. If you die without leaving a valid Will, your assets will be distributed in accordance with the ‘Intestacy Rules’, which is the Common Law’s attempt to anticipate what the intentions of the average person would have been had he or she made a Will. What these Rules anticipate, and what you may actually want, could, however, be entirely different.
- If you’re not married, your partner is not entitled to anything as of right – Under the Intestacy Rules, unmarried, cohabiting, partners will not automatically be entitled to anything.
- Think of the children – Perhaps one of the greatest reasons for making a Will is the need to appoint Guardians for your minor children. Few want to consider the possibility of both parents dying. In such circumstances the existence of a Will can make sure that your children are brought up by individuals of your choice who share your values and beliefs. By making a Will you can appoint a trusted friend or relative as Guardian of your children to look after them and bring them up as you would have wished.
- Look after other loved ones – You may be responsible for looking after other family members such as an elderly or vulnerable parent or sibling. Your Will can stipulate how they will be cared for in your absence and you can make financial provision for them if necessary.
- Non-relatives will not benefit unless you say so – If there is a special person in your life, and who may not necessarily be related, and you want to leave something to them, this can only be guaranteed by making a Will.
- Save on Inheritance Tax – Seeking expert advice on drafting a Will could save you tens of thousands of pounds in unnecessary Inheritance Tax payments.
- Do not leave everything to the other – It is increasingly important to consider the implications of leaving everything to the other spouse or partner, or to allow your assets to pass automatically by survivorship to your spouse or partner. You can make provisions in your Will for your assets to be placed in Trust for your children avoiding the risk of these passing to unsuspected third parties – such as future spouses or, indeed, the children of future spouses, should you be the first to go.
- Your final send off – In your Will, you can specify whether you wish to be cremated or buried, and even give directions about your funeral; where you want it, or any instructions for any donations.
When writing a Will, it’s important to seek professional advice, not only to help save on Inheritance Tax and ensure the Will is legally binding, but also to significantly reduce the likelihood of someone excluded from the Will making a successful claim against it. A large increase in claims against Estates under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 has seen close relatives, who may have been excluded from the Will, making successful claims for financial provision against the deceased’s Estate.
Making a Will needn’t be time consuming and can actually be fun to do. Its nominal cost is insignificant in comparison with the cost, expense and distress that can be caused to those left behind when there is no Will, or insufficient thought has been given to whom should benefit in the event of your death.
Emyr Pierce Solicitors’ sensitive staff will talk you through everything and ensure your instructions are clear and exactly what you want.
For an immediate quotation or discuss your concerns with a specialist, please telephone us on 029 20 616002 Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm and on Saturday 10am to 4pm or visit www.emyrpierce.co.uk or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.