Writing a Will is rarely on most peopleâ€™s daily list of priorities. According to research conducted by unbiased.co.uk, the UKâ€™s No.1 adviser search, over half of UK adults have not written a Will, and this figure rises further to 76% for those in their thirties. In Manchester, 67% of all adults have not made a Will.
While making a Will can seem somewhat morbid, it can help your family immensely by saving emotional strain and money by paying less inheritance tax and legal fees. Here are ten reasons to write your Will today:
1)Be in control of how your estate is distributed
If you do not have a Will then everything you own will be distributed in accordance to UK law when you pass away. This may mean that those you might wish to benefit after your death may not receive anything, which has been known to lead to family discord and legal battles.
2)If you donâ€™t have any known next of kin
If you do not have any known living relatives, your assets and your possessions become ownerless property, and could be sold off; meaning the â€˜Crownâ€™ (government) will keep the proceeds.
3)Reduce your inheritance tax obligations
Making a Will can reduce the amount of inheritance tax your family need to pay on assets such as property. The value of what you give away to charity and beneficiaries will have an impact on how much inheritance tax you will pay. Your family will only pay inheritance tax if the value of your estate is Â£325,000 or above.
4)You can choose a guardian for your child or children
If you have minor children, you can stipulate in your Will who will be your childrenâ€™s guardian. Otherwise, it will be left to the courts and social services to decide who will look after your children, and that might mean they end up in care. Making sure this decision is covered in your Will means you will be in control of who will raise your children and, even more importantly, you can make sure itâ€™s not somebody you do not want.
5)Making provision for your children
Your children may not become beneficiaries to your estate if you are not married to their mother or father. If you have children from a previous relationship and are married to someone who is not their parent, then your children will only inherit any of your estate if it is worth Â£250,000 or more.
6)Making provision for your grandchildren
If you have grandchildren, they can only receive an inheritance from you if you name them in your Will. A grandchild or great-grand child cannot inherit directly if they are not named in your Will.
The only way they can inherit without a will is:
â€¢ if their parent or grandparent has died before you have
â€¢ when their parent is alive, before you die, but they pass away before reaching the age of 18 without having married or formed a civil partnership.
7)Your ex-partner can inherit if you are informally separated
If you are informally separated and no Will is left, it may be possible for your ex-partner to inherit a share of your estate. However, if you are divorced then it is not possible for your ex to inherit under UK intestacy law.
8)If you are not married your partner may not get anything
If you are co habiting with your partner and you do not have a Will, your partner will only be entitled to what you own jointly, such as property and savings. Cohabiting couples are not protected under law in the same way as married couples. While an unmarried partner cannot inherit under UK Intestacy laws, they can apply to the court for financial provision from the estate â€“ especially if they were dependent on the deceased.
9)What happens if you and your spouse pass away at the same time
If you and your spouse (husband/wife/partner) die at the same time, say in a car accident, the law states whoeverâ€™s oldest is said to have died first. If thatâ€™s you, your assets may then pass to your spouse and then straight on to his or her family.
10)Making a Will helps to keep family harmony
Having no Will to guide your family on who gets what can result in family rifts and arguments. Making a Will means you can leave your affairs in such a way that wonâ€™t have a negative effect on your family. Remember, if you do already have a Will you will need to review it every few years to reflect any changes of circumstances.
At Barber & Co, we have Will solicitors in Preston, Darwen and Ramsbottom who can help you make a Will that will mean those you care for the most will benefit from your estate. Contact us today!