Currently more than 28 million people in Britain have not made a Will yet the troubles created for families when loved ones die intestate, without a drafted Will, far outweigh the ease at which your family can be properly catered for upon death.
Wills are essential when deciding the future of your provisions and estate. Those of you yet to consider why wills are so important in the current age should consider the following reasons for drafting the document with a local solicitor.
Rules of Intestacy:
Under rules of intestacy, if you do not make a will your possessions may not go to the
people you would like to benefit from them.
Only married or civil partners, and close relatives, inherit your assets under rules of intestacy. However, if you have recently divorced, ex-partners are not cared for when no Will is drafted.
The rules of intestacy also do not recognise a “common law” husband or wife or other partner including same sex partnerships. As a result, even if you have lived together for many years, your cohabitant may be left with nothing if you have not made a Will.
Financial problems for your children:
If no Will is drafted, there is no clear way of knowing who you would like to care for your children once gone. Squabbles over who should look after your children and any assets left to them can easily arise and be unnecessarily emotional for all involved.
By drafting a Will, you can appoint guardians to look after children and trustees to take care of their finances responsibly.
Why pay the government money it doesn’t deserve?:
If your estate is worth more than the Inheritance Tax Threshold, currently £325,000, loved ones could pay tax at 40% on inheritance following your death. While £325,000 may seem like a hefty sum, once your home, car, household items and other personal property is taken into account the number soon becomes a reality.
A carefully planned Will can save a significant amount of tax if prepared properly and keep you’re hard-earned property away from the government’s awaiting palms.
To lose a loved one is difficult enough. But to sell the family property or move house to cover the tax man’s advances or requests from beneficiaries can prove just as emotionally draining.
Drafting a Will allows you to properly plan the financial future of your grieving family and establish the best possible footing upon which they can continue their lives.
Trust your ‘Executors’:
You do not want to leave your estate and prized possessions in the hands of those incapable of performing your wishes. By appointing an executor you can be safe in the knowledge that your wants are carried out by a trusted individual.
- Ascertain the value of your estate and prepare a schedule of the assets;
- Unless the estate is very small, obtain authority from the Probate Registry to administer the estate;
- Pay any debts due, including inheritance tax;
- Distribute the remains of the estate to those persons entitled.
- Have a say in your funeral arrangements:
No one wants to envisage their own funeral but to some it is important that they are remembered in a proper fashion.
Your wishes may not be known unless you write them down and trust others to carry them out. Executors, family, friends, all need support during such a difficult time and by clearly stating your funeral wishes you can save them the pressure of imagining your intentions.
Remember your favourite charity:
For those with little or no family, it is often unjust that their estates are passed to the government when others could be so much more deserving of the gift.
When drafting a Will you can stipulate whether a chosen charity receives a portion of your estate, known as a legacy. This can make a real difference to a charity’s benefactors and allow the deceased one final and meaningful donation to a worthy cause.
Keep information up-to-date:
If you have divorced during your lifetime, or have children from previous relationships, in most cases an old Will is automatically revoked upon entering a new marriage or civil partnership.
A Will should always be re-drawn at the time of divorce, even when re-marriage is not contemplated, so that those important to you throughout life are always taken care of.
Ultimately, drafting a Will gives everyone piece of mind. Family loss is always tragic and the stress of financial planning and estate provision is best performed when all opinions can be considered.
For help deciding your future and that of your family, approach your local solicitor who can guide you through the legal issues and personal queries that surround probate. Remember, it’s never too early to plan for life without loved ones, but it can often be too late to make decisions once their gone.