According to recent studies, over 50% of adults do not have a valid Will.
Dying intestate, or without a valid Will, could mean that people you want to benefit from your estate may get nothing. Do you want a distant relative you never met benefiting from your estate?
For some people who have no surviving relatives their estate could end up with the Crown.
If you live with a partner and have not married or entered into a civil partnership they have no automatic right to benefit under your estate. They would need to make a claim which can be stressful and expensive.
Preparing Wills for over 20 years has shown us that nearly every client has different needs and each Will has be tailor-made to suit them. Having tax planning advice as well as a Will that suits your circumstances is very important, especially considering that £1 billion will be paid in inheritance tax between 2016 and 2022.
Benefits of writing a Will
A professionally prepared Will ensures your estate goes to the correct people and gives you peace of mind. There are many benefits:
- It makes it much easier for family or friends to sort everything out when you die – without a Will the process can be more time consuming and stressful.
- You appoint executors and these are the people who will manage your assets and estate affairs immediately after your death. These are the people you have personally chosen who will not only deal with your financial affairs but sort your personal belongings.
- You can include your funeral wishes to assist family/friends with immediate arrangements after your death.
- Parents can leave instructions about who they would like to look after their children in the event of their death. If both parents die, without appointing a guardian, an application may need to be made to the court to decide where the children should live.
- Writing a Will can also avoid family disputes. Without a Will, there maybe further complications and delays. This is particularly important if you run a business or have assets overseas.
DIY Wills may be attractive, however they can have adverse financial and emotional consequences for your families after you have died. In recent years there have been costly challenges on the interpretation and validity of Wills that have been homemade or drawn up by people with no professional qualifications.
Most people have the intention to make a Will or review their existing Will but with busy lives we can all be guilty of burying our heads in the sand. Make it your priority to make an appointment today to sort your Will so you can benefit from the peace of mind it affords you.
By Nicola McIntyre – Partner and Hilary Askew – Associate
E-mail: [email protected]