According to estimates, as many as 60% of people don’t have a Will, meaning many loved ones stand to lose out. Making a Will means planning for the inevitable – something we really don’t want to think about. However, the importance of making a Will cannot be stressed enough.
Whether you think you don’t have enough assets and therefore don’t need a Will or believe that your partner/family will inherit everything anyway, it is imperative that you have formal arrangements in place.
The reality is that no matter how small your estate is, complications are sure to arise and a Will is the only way to ensure that your wishes are fulfilled and your loved ones are looked after.
What Is A Will?
In short, a legal document that sets out instructions for who will inherit your estate and what should happen after you die.
You can specify the type of funeral you would like, how your assets are to be shared out, who should look after your children as well as any other wishes.
It is a legally-binding document but you need to make sure it has been drafted and prepared properly, otherwise it may not be valid.
Can I Write My Own Will?
Yes, you can and you can even buy a ‘Do It Yourself’ kit online or from a stationer.
However, we strongly advise against this. If the document has not been drafted properly, the outcome could be very different to what you intended, or worse, it will be invalid,
What Happens If There is No Will or A Will is Invalid?
When a person dies without leaving a valid will, they are said to have died ‘intestate’. In that case, the law sets out who should deal with the deceased’s affairs and their property (the estate) must be shared out according to the rules of Intestacy.
Only married or civil partners and some other close relatives can inherit under the rules of intestacy so if you have specific wishes as to what should happen after your death, these will not be fulfilled.
Even if the intestacy rules would deliver the result you would want, leaving a valid Will means your loved ones will inherit much more quickly and help them to cover any funeral expenses or inheritance pax, if payable.
If you have no dependents or close family, your assets will go to more distant relations. If no relations can be found, then the Crown will inherit all of your assets.
A Will on the other hand allows you to leave your assets to close friends, charities or other good causes you want to support.
The result of having no Will or an invalid Will can also be an unexpected and avoidable bill for inheritance tax.
What Should I Do Next?
Always, seek advice from a professional who can guide you and ensure that a valid will is created that reflects your wishes.
You will need to identify your executors and guardians for minor children, if any. Executors are responsible for ensuring that the wishes set out in your will are met. Guardians are those individuals who you appoint to be responsible for any children you have under 18.
Finally, make sure your will is official. A will that is not properly signed and witnessed will be invalid.
Fairmont Legal can advise and guide you every step of the way to help you draft your Will. Contact a member of the team today.