Figures show that over half of UK adults do not have a Will. Many say that they plan to make a Will later in life because they feel that it will be too complex and costly. This is particularly common for those with step families. As a result, over 31 million run the risk of dying intestate and having their estate distributed solely according to Intestacy Law.
Recent studies have shown that people aged 55 and over are 3 times more likely to have a Will than those aged 18 to 34. The 35 to 54 age bracket isn’t much better. Only a quarter of those aged 35 to 54 have a Will, despite having dependents and major financial commitments.
To help convince those who are delaying or even having doubts about writing or updating a Will, we’ve listed 10 very good reasons why you should.
- If you do not leave a Will, the law decides how your estate is passed on and this may not be in line with your wishes. This may lead to your spouse having to share your estate with your children whom you may not have intended to benefit straight away. This leads us onto point 2…
- In England and Wales, if you are married with children, you might assume that all your assets would go to your spouse. However, if you die without a valid Will and your estate is worth more than £250,000, your partner will only get the first £250,000. If you do not leave a Will, your spouse will get one half of the remainder of the estate and your children, the other half between them. If your assets are worth less than £250,000, your children will get nothing.
- If you are not married, your partner is not legally entitled to any of your estates when you die. At present, the intestacy rules do not recognise cohabitees. If you live with your partner and die without having made a Will, your partner will not automatically inherit any of your estates – there is no such thing as a “common law wife”. Your partner may have a claim on the estate, but this is expensive and a situation that should be avoided.
- A Will permits you to appoint guardians to look after your children if they are under 18 and you can also make financial arrangements for their benefit in the event of your death.
- Writing a Will can ensure Inheritance Tax (IHT) is kept to a minimum. A properly drafted Trust in your Will could enable someone to manage the inheritance you leave to a disabled or vulnerable person and may ensure the intended beneficiary does not lose his/her means-tested benefits.
- A Will allows you to choose your own Executors. If you die without a Will, your closest relatives will need to apply for ‘Letters of Administration’. The Executors chosen on your behalf may not be in line with your wishes.
- A Will allows you to leave specific sums or items to individuals. These can range from items of jewellery to sums of money.
- A Will also makes it much easier for your family or friends to sort everything out when you die. Without a Will, the process can be more time consuming and stressful.
- It is possible to write your own Will; however homemade Wills should only be used in the most straightforward of circumstances. i.e. leaving your entire estate to 1 person. At The Law Practice (UK) Ltd, we do not recommend that you write your own Will as without legal assistance, mistakes can be made which can be disastrous, leading to invalid Wills, or the wrong beneficiaries benefitting. Homemade Wills are unregulated and do not offer the consumer protection that a solicitor does as we are backed by Professional Indemnity Insurance and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
- Once you have a valid Will, you should review it every 5 years and after any major change in your life such as marriage or divorce, moving home, having a baby or if the executor dies. It is important to note that your Will is automatically revoked on marriage.
Don’t leave anything to chance – get in touch with The Law Practice (UK) Ltd today for further information regarding our Will writing service. Our team of expert solicitors can professionally draft your Will for you or aid you in reviewing your Will as it stands.
To make an appointment, or simply to speak to a member of the team, please contact us.