Making a will is the only way to ensure your money, property and possessions pass to the people you care about.
Making a will makes it easier for family or friends to sort out your estate when you die.
It is particularly important to make a will if you have children or other family members who rely on you for financial reasons.
Anybody over the age of 18 who owns any assets of has children should make a will. Nobody knows what is around the corner and should the worst happen it is important to have your affairs in order.
A will is a legal document setting out who should receive your money, property and possessions when you die.
A will also states who has the legal authority to distribute your estate according to the contents of your will. This person is called the executor and you may appoint more than one person.
A will can also contain details of guardians for minor children and express your funeral wishes.
Many people simply leave their estate to one another and then on to their children on second death.
However, if you die first there is no guarantee that your children would inherit anything! Your surviving spouse/civil partner would be perfectly entitled to change their will after your death and leave your children out altogether. Additionally, your partner may run up financial debts or need money for care home fees which would reduce the amount of any inheritance left on their death.
If you want to ensure your children inherit from you it is essential to take professional advice on drafting your will and inserting the relevant trusts.
Follow the link to read some scenarios regarding second marriages and wills https://www.ft.com/content/9bcb67d2-44e7-11e0-a8c6-00144feab49a
Dying without a Will (Intestate) may alter how your estate is disposed of and this may not reflect your actual wishes/intent.
When you die intestate, the law dictates who receives your money, property and possessions.
Unmarried partners and partners without a registered civil partnership are unable to inherit from one another without a will. In England and Wales, a common law partner is not legally recognised. This could potentially lead to financial hardship for the remaining partner.
If you are married or in a civil partnership with children, your spouse will inherit the assets up to the value of £250,000. Any remainder will pass to your children. This remainder is split in to two halves, the first half passes immediately to the children on reaching 18 with the remainder held as a “life interest”. Your spouse/civil partner would benefit from the income during their lifetime and on their death the money would then pass to your children.
If you are married or in a civil partnership with no children, the first £450,00 would be inherited by your spouse. Any remainder would be split into two halves. The first half would pass to your spouse/civil partner with the second half passing to family members as laid out under the intestacy laws.
If you are married or in a civil partnership with no children and no other relatives your entire estate would then pass to your spouse/civil partner.
Any property owned in joint names will automatically pass to a serving spouse/civil partner although it must be owned jointly and not as tenants in common.
If you die with no close living relatives your estate will pass to the Crown/Government.
If your circumstances change it is important to update your will to ensure your estate is distributed according to your wishes. Marriage invalidates a will unless the will states an intention of marriage. A separation, divorce or re-marriage would also be events to consider updating your will.
Making a will can also ensure you don’t pay more IHT than you need to.
Storrs Wills offer a comprehensive will writing service with appointments held in the comfort of your own home.