When should I get a Will?
We often get asked…
“Do I really need a Will, won’t everything just go to my children/husband/wife?”
Well, sadly it isn’t as simple as that (not many things are!).
You may have seen our flowchart of what happens if you die without a Will (also known as intestate) but here it is again:
So, as you can see, it is not as straightforward as you may have hoped.
It is not something we can predict (that is, when our time is up) however, it is something that we can plan for!
So, some of the stages in your life that you may want to consider putting a Will in place (if you haven’t already!) or reviewing your Will are:
Buying a Property
Whether you are buying a property to live in yourself, with someone else, or to rent out and use as an income, it is important to consider how that house is owned (solely, as Joint Tenants or as Tenants in Common) as this will have a bearing on what happens to the property upon your death.
If you are able to gift the property on your death (or part of the property) then your Will will determine exactly what happens to that property and who inherits.
If you are in doubt about how a current property of yours is held, or what consequences that has, please do get in touch and we can help.
When you get married, if you have no children and no Will in place, then everything will pass to your spouse upon your death.
However, when you have children, the first £250,000 (including the value of any property owned solely by you or as a Tenant in Common) will pass to your spouse along with all your possessions and the remainder will be split with your spouse receiving an interest in half and the remaining half being split equally between your children.
This may not be what you would want to happen and so making a Will is important.
Equally, where you marry for a second (or subsequent) time, you may want to protect some of you previous earnings and assets for children from a previous marriage or to dispose of in another way, rather than it all passing to your new spouse and so this is where a Will is extremely important.
A Will also becomes void on marriage (unless the Will states the intended marriage), this is something you need to consider and something that is not commonly known.
Becoming a Parent
We have discussed above how your assets are divided if you are married, have children but do not have a Will.
If you have children and are not married, then your assets are split equally between your children in the first instance.
There is no such thing as a ‘common-law husband or wife’ in relation to inheritance and so even if you have been ‘living as married’ your partner will not be entitled to any inheritance (unless they proceed with a lengthy legal claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975).
A Will allows you to put Trusts in place for your children so that you can set the age at which they inherit (rather than them inheriting at 18) and also allows you to provide for any vulnerable children that you may have, such as those with disabilities to ensure that their money is looked after and also doesn’t have any impact on their benefits in the future.
Another important aspect of a Will when you are a parent, is appointing Guardians!
Appointing Guardians in your Will gives you the opportunity to appoint the people that you trust to look after your children, and bring them up, should you no longer be around to do so. This saves any lengthy court cases and prevents the children from having to go into care or into the control of the Local Authorities whilst Legal Guardians are found for them.
These are just a few milestones that may trigger the need for a Will, we would encourage everyone over the age of 18 to get a Will (of course we would!) but apart from anything else it just means that you have peace of mind knowing that everything will be as YOU want it, and it removes that burden from your loved ones at what will already be a terribly difficult time for them.
How difficult is it to make a Will?
The process is quite simple, an initial meeting where we discuss your needs and take instructions should take no longer than an hour. Your Will writer can then draft the documents and arrange another meeting to sign everything off and make it legally valid. The process can be completed in just a few days depending on how complex your Will may be.
If you have any questions, would like to consider putting a Will in place or a FREE review of your existing Will, please call us on 01727 865121 or drop us an email Info@TotalLegacyCare.co.uk
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