This isn’t the most pleasant of subjects to think about, we know, but with 56% of people in the UK NOT having a will, we thought it would be helpful to share the basics of why everyone should have sorting their will right at the top of their priority list…
You have dependent children
As well as providing for children financially after your death, if they’re under 18 you should consider who would look after them by nominating a legal guardian or guardians in your will. If you die without a will, and there’s no other person with parental responsibility, it’s up to the courts to decide who takes care of your children. They may not choose the people you want, so it’s essential to record your wishes in a will.
You aren’t married to your partner
If you aren’t married or in a civil partnership, don’t expect anything to go to your partner if you don’t make a will. At worst, this might mean them not being able to stay in the home you shared.
You’re concerned about inheritance tax
If your estate is worth more than £325,000, it could be hit with an inheritance tax (IHT) bill when you die. A will can help you avoid IHT, for example, by leaving everything above the £325,000 threshold to your spouse. (There is no IHT on money and assets left to a spouse.)
Your personal circumstances change
Write or update your will when you get married, divorce or have children to ensure the right people stand to benefit. Note that in England and Wales (but not Scotland) an existing will is automatically cancelled – ‘revoked’ – when you get married.
You have specific funeral wishes
If you know what you want your funeral to be like, you can leave instructions so that your family doesn’t have to make the decisions.
You own property with someone else or overseas
If you own your home on a ‘joint tenants’ basis, when you die your ownership automatically passes to the other owner under ‘survivorship’ rules. But if you own your property on a ‘tenants in common’ basis, the intestacy rules will apply unless you have a will.
If you own property overseas, inheritance laws may be different from the UK’s.
We know the potential pitfalls and will ask you all the right questions to make sure that you have considered every possibility.
We can advise you as to whether you would be best with a Will or a Testamentary Trust. Let us design your Will in such a way to help protect your family from expensive estate litigation after your death.