Research conducted by Unbiased suggests that there are a number of reasons why people don’t make a Will. Over a quarter of respondents to the survey (26%) said that they plan to make a Will later in life. This was closely followed by respondents feeling that they did not have enough assets to pass on after death. Other responses to the survey include a lack of knowledge on making a Will and the concern around the overall cost of professional preparation.
We look at the important reasons why you shouldn’t neglect putting a professionally prepared Will in place.
- The most important reason to make a Will is to enable you to control what happens to your property/assets when you die. Making a Will ensures that your money and possessions are distributed according to your wishes. You can also stipulate when your children will inherit, such as specifying the age at which they can take the property.
- If you die without a Will there are rules that govern who benefits from your estate, these are known as the Intestacy rules. Intestacy rules are applied very strictly and therefore your estate may be given to persons who you would not wish to benefit from your estate.
- The Intestacy rules can work harshly against the interests of co-habitees. There is no direct right for a surviving cohabitee to any of your assets when you die and in such circumstances, it may be necessary to apply to the Court under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 for a share of your assets.
- You can be sure that you provide for your dependents, including step-children. The law states only spouses/civil partners or blood relatives can automatically inherit if there is no Will. It is therefore especially important to make a Will if you have children or other family who depend on you financially or if you want to leave something to people outside of your immediate family.
- Avoid paying more Inheritance Tax than you need to. It may be possible to reduce the amount of tax payable on the inheritance if advice is taken in advance and a Will is made. Inheritance Tax is payable at the rate of 40% of the value of a person’s estate over £325,000. There are exemptions and reliefs available to reduce tax liability and considering the approximate value of your estate before death can be a useful way of modifying this liability.
- If you have children under the age of 18 years, you can appoint their legal guardian(s) in your Will to ensure that who you want will look after your children if you die. If you don’t appoint guardians, the decision could be left to the Family Courts who may choose a person you would not agree with.
- A Will 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. Making a Will may also help prevent disputes between family members.
- You can decide who you would like to settle your affairs by appointing Executors in your Will. Your Executors will manage your affairs after your death and it is important for you to consider carefully who you will appoint, these can be family members or professionals such as a firm of solicitors.
Need a Will?
At Holmes Family Law, our team of expert Will and Probate Lawyers can advise you of the legal complexities in ensuring your family is taken care of once you have gone. Talk to the expert Wills & Probate consultants today on 0191 5009337 or 01670 707338 during office hours.