7th Oct 2015

Most of us know that we should make a Will.  Many of us put it off, thinking, sometimes mistakenly, that if anything happens to us, our spouse/partner will inherit everything on our death.   Without a Will, the decision as to who will inherit will be decided by the laws of England and Wales.  

If someone dies without leaving a valid Will, the rules on intestacy apply.   In these circumstances the estate will be distributed in accordance with statutory rules which leave a person’s estate to their next of kin in a fixed order.  This means that your friends, favourite charities and indeed some close relatives may receive nothing.   This may not be the way you want your money and possessions to be distributed on your death.

There are some circumstances where it is particularly important to have a Will in place.  The rules on intestacy do not recognise partners who live together as having the same rights as husbands, wives and civil partners.  This means that an unmarried partner or partners who have not registered a civil partnership will not automatically inherit from each other unless there is a Will.  This could result in serious financial problems for the surviving partner.

You may associate making a Will with simply dealing with the financial aspects of dealing with an estate.  If you have children under the age of eighteen, you can use the Will to express your wishes as to their legal guardianship.  This helps to avoid any uncertainty about who would look after them.

A Will can also be used as a tax-planning tool.  As part of the Will making process, we will look at the nature and extent of your assets and consider Inheritance Tax and how it might affect your estate.  This may well give you the opportunity to reduce the amount of tax payable if advice is taken in advance and a Will made.

You may have other wishes to incorporate in your Will, such as particular wishes for your funeral arrangements.  There may be particular possessions that you would like to gift to a named person or a legacy to be made to a favourite charity.  

To ensure your wishes are put into effect on your death, you need to make a Will.

If you would like to arrange an appointment to discuss the preparation or updating of your Will or would like to receive an estimate of costs, please contact our Probate Manager, Kathryn Cole, on 01202 512227, or use the orange form above!