Why should I make a Will?

If you die without having made a Will, the government will decide who will inherit your estate in accordance with the rules of intestacy. Depending on the size of your estate and your own circumstances, this could mean that your spouse may end up sharing your assets with your children. Married partners or civil partners inherit under the rules of intestacy only if they are married or in a civil partnership at the time of death. So, if you are divorced or if your civil partnership has been legally ended, you can’t inherit under the rules of intestacy.

The full laws of intestacy varies across different parts of the UK and more details can be found on the government website here https://www.gov.uk/inherits-someone-dies-without-will/y.

The Point of a Will

Discussing your wishes may make you feel uncomfortable, but the process need not turn out to be as difficult or upsetting as you might think. Having a Will in place is likely to provide re-assurance that that you have tied up the loose ends and made your wishes clear.

It is important to have the correct type of Will in place to reflect your wishes and to take account of your own individual, personal and financial circumstances.

The correct Will can allow you to:

  • Appoint suitable guardians for young children, rather than leaving the decision to the Courts
  • Set up maintenance trusts for children to protect their inheritance until a certain age
  • Specify the beneficiaries to your estate, detailing the order and proportions, so that you have comfort in the knowledge that your wishes will be carried out
  • Make specific legacies to family, friends or your chosen charities
  • Make provision for children or other beneficiaries, should your surviving partner remarry
  • Protect your share of the property from having to be sold to pay your surviving partner’s future care fees, thus still having assets to leave to your family

Amending an existing Will

If you already have a Will, it is recommended that it is reviewed every few years. It may be that your wishes have changed, but even if they have not, your assets may have altered or new inheritance laws may have been introduced. It is very important to ensure that your Will does exactly what you want it to do; that it protects your assets and investments as well as taking advantage of various areas of flexibility within the law of estate planning.