How often have you thought about making a Will but not actually got round to doing it? £8m went to the government last year on account of people not having a valid Will in place when they died.
If you have no Will you are not alone. 73% of 16-54 year olds and 36% over the age of 55 do not have a Will. As a result £8m went to the government last year on account of people not having a valid Will in place when they died.
Why Should I Make a Will?
The only certain way to ensure that your spouse, partner, relative, friend or chosen charity inherits what you intend when you die is by making a Will. It is even more important if you have children, you own property, have savings and investments or you own a business.
Here are some of the main benefits of making a Will:
- It can reduce the burden of Inheritance Tax
- It can appoint Guardians for your children
- It can direct your business assets and apply available reliefs to them
- It can provide for complex family arrangements, for example including children from previous marriages while adequately providing for your current spouse or including step-children
- It can help with protecting your assets, for example preserving the capital in your home from residential care fees
- It can benefit good causes
- It can reduce the costs to your family of administering your estate
- It can help to minimise the chances of a dispute
What Happens if I Die Without a Will?
If you die without making a Will, you have no say in what happens to your estate. Instead, the Intestacy Rules will divide your estate in a pre-determined way depending on the value of your estate at the date of your death and your family circumstances. This means that your estate may pass to people who you had not wished to benefit and it may also mean that your estate is not distributed in the most tax-efficient way.
A common misconception is to assume that everything will pass to your spouse or in the case of those who are unmarried, that everything will pass to your partner. This may not be the case, the intestacy rules do not recognise co-habitees and if the value of your estate is over £250,000 and you have children then your spouse will not automatically inherit everything.
Nobody is immune; the young, powerful, rich and famous are all subject to the same rules. The likes of Amy Winehouse, Agatha Christie, Barry White, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Jill Dando and even Abraham Lincoln (a lawyer himself) all died without a Will resulting in lengthy squabbles over their estates.
Just as making a Will is important, reviewing and updating your Will so that it reflects your current circumstances and wishes is also necessary.
Why should I use a solicitor?
Trying to make your own Will can lead to mistakes or lack of clarity and could mean that your Will is invalid or disputed. For this reason it is important to seek legal assistance when making your Will.