In a time of complicated financial affairs and ever-intricate family relationships it is staggering to think that more than 60% of the UK adult population – including 35% of those over the age of 55 – do not have a Will. Many of us simply choose to put it off until we get older, or incorrectly assume that their estate will automatically go to the right people.
If you die without a Will you are said to be intestate and the law prescribes who will administer and share the estate. In some cases the law may well mirror your requirements, but there are plenty of common scenarios where it probably will not.
Consider this … if you are an unmarried adult without children, your estate will be shared equally between your parents. This will remain the case even if one parent has been absent throughout your life or if you have suffered an estrangement. And what if you live with a partner? Under the Intestacy Rules they will have no automatic right to anything, including any property held in your sole name, even if they have contributed towards the mortgage and bills for many years.
If you have children but are unmarried, your estate will be divided between your children. While they are under the age of 18, their inheritance will be held on trust for them. Their surviving parent will not have automatic access to funds held on their behalf and will have to rely on the discretion of the trustees to make funds available to assist with the costs associated with the children.
What about step-families? The Intestacy Rules do not make any provision for step-children, even if you view them in exactly the same way as your biological or adopted children.
If you do not have a Will you cannot determine who administers your estate and the job may fall to someone completely unsuitable. You can also appoint guardians for minor children in your Will, ensuring that they will be brought up by the people you choose.
A Will also gives you the opportunity to recognise and reward relatives, friends or organisations, or make gifts to charities. You can also ensure that personal items of a sentimental nature pass to people who you know will appreciate them.
For a limited time only we are offering 20% discount on all fixed fees for Wills and Codicils and Lasting Powers of Attorney. We are also offering 20% off your first invoice for all Probate instructions.
If you have any questions about this information or if you would like to book an initial free 30 minute consultation, then please do not hesitate contact us on 01279 466910 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.