Why should I make a Will?

by Kidd Rapinet on May 3, 2018
Mother and daughter looking at Will

Over half of people in the UK have not made a Will, with London having the lowest numbers of people making a Will.

There are a number of reasons for this, but possibly the main one is that none of us like to think about our own death. There is also, of course, the misconception that with or without a will, a person’s estate will pass automatically to the people they would want to inherit.

A will is a very important document and there are a number of very good reasons for making one:

The Intestacy Rules apply if there is no Will

Making a will is the only way to ensure that the Intestacy Rules do not apply to your estate. These rules set out what individuals will benefit from your estate and can result in your spouse having to share your estate with your children. If you are in a second marriage, then you may have wanted to make alternative arrangements for your new spouse that would ensure capital preservation for your children.  Alternatively, you may not have intended to benefit your children immediately to make full use of the Inheritance Tax Nil Rate Band.

By making a will you are able to ensure that the individuals you wish to benefit from your estate actually do so.

The Intestacy Rules do not protect a cohabitee

If you reside with your partner and are not married then the best course of action would be to do a will. Without one, your partner would not benefit from your estate as the Intestacy Rules do not recognise relationships that are not marriage.

Your partner may be able to make a claim against your estate but this is costly and can be avoided by making a will and making proper arrangements.

A Will allows you to make arrangements regarding a second marriage

Second marriages are very common and, in the majority of cases, you and your new spouse may have children from a previous relationship as well as children together.

You may wish for your spouse to benefit from your estate but, ultimately, you would like your assets to pass to another beneficiary – e.g. the children from a previous relationship.

This situation can be dealt with effectively in your will and there are a number of options available. Without a will, this kind of planning is not as straightforward and, depending on the circumstances, may not even be possible after your death.

It is prudent to revise your Will after separation from a spouse or civil partner 

If you are married or in a civil partnership that has ended but has not yet been formally dissolved then it would be prudent to do a will.

While you remain married or in a civil partnership your spouse or civil partner will be entitled to a share of your estate under the Intestacy Rules.  By doing a will you can direct your estate away from your spouse or civil partner to an individual or individuals that you would prefer to benefit.

A properly drafted Will will help with Tax planning 

For a married couple, a properly drafted Will can result in inheritance tax being kept to a minimum.

It is possible to do your will yourself at home but this is not recommended unless the situation is very straightforward and the document will be a ‘simple’ will.  Unfortunately, most situations are not straightforward and a home-made will can result in unforeseen and unwanted consequences that result in considerable expense. It is the role of the legal adviser to raise potential pitfalls with you to ensure that your estate passes to the right beneficiaries in the smoothest way possible.

Appoint Guardians in your Will to look after your children

If you have children under the age of 18 you can use your will to appoint a guardian or guardians who will take care of your children until they reach adulthood.

You can speak to any of our Wills, LPA and Probate lawyers across our other offices in Aylesbury, Canary Wharf, Farnham, High Wycombe or Slough, using the form provided.  Please use the links provided to find more information on Wills and Probate, Wills and Probate Disputes and Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and for Finances

These materials and content have been prepared for the benefit of their viewers/readers. They are intended for marketing purposes only and are of a general nature and do not constitute legal advice applicable to any particular facts or circumstances. Kidd Rapinet LLP and/or the author(s) accept no duty of care, responsibility or liability for any loss or damage which you or any third party may suffer as a result of any reliance or use by you or them of these marketing materials and content, except to the extent it is not legally possible to exclude such liability. If you require legal advice on your own situation, please contact us so we can discuss how we may assist.

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