Many people think they don’t need a Will. Often they think their estate will automatically pass to their partner, or that their loved ones can divide up their assets after their death.
This isn’t always the case, however. If you die without a Will, the law will decide who can inherit, and your loved ones may not be provided for.
If you want your estate to be dealt with according to your wishes after your death, making a Will is essential. Below we’ve outlined some common questions and misconceptions about Wills.
If you’d like to get started straight away, head to our online service to draft your Will. Or if you want to talk to someone in more detail, contact us on 0370 1500 100.
You can also use our online enquiry form and we’ll call you back.
Who Should Write A Will?
You should make a Will if you want to:
- Decide who will inherit your estate
- Give money, personal belongings, or other assets to specific people or charities
- Choose people you trust to manage your estate when you die
- Appoint legal guardians to look after your children
- Decide when your estate will be passed on – for example, when your children turn 21
- Make sure the inheritance you leave is tax-efficient.
It’s particularly important to make a Will if you:
- Are in a relationship, but are not married
- Are divorced
- Have remarried
- Have children from different relationships.
If you fit into any of these categories, a Will might be the only way to make sure that your loved ones can benefit from your estate.
Whatever your reason for writing a Will, our lawyers can draft a document tailored to your exact wishes. Get started today with our online Wills service, or speak to a member of our team on 0370 1500 100 if you’d like to learn more.
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What Happens If I Die Without A Will?
If you don’t leave a valid Will setting out what should happen to your estate after your death, your assets will be passed on according a set legal pattern instead.
For estates in England and Wales, this pattern is set out in the intestacy rules:
- The deceased’s spouse inherits the deceased’s assets if there are no children
- If the deceased had children, the deceased’s spouse or civil partner inherits all of their personal property and the first £322,000 of the rest of their estate
- If the estate is worth more than £322,000, the rest is split 50/50 between the spouse and the deceased’s children
- If there is no surviving spouse or civil partner, the deceased’s children inherit the entire estate.
- Other family members like siblings and grandchildren only inherit if there is no surviving spouse or children.
This could mean:
- Certain loved ones, such as unmarried partners or stepchildren, are not provided for
- Your partner has to move out of your shared home
- No one looks after your property or financial affairs while the Court appoints an executor – this could lead to mounting debts and unnecessary stress for your loved ones.
What happens will also depend on how the deceased owned any joint assets, and how they are passed on– either to the surviving owner(s) or under the intestacy rules.
Different countries often have different intestacy rules. If your estate includes assets in multiple countries, you might need a Will specific to each one. Read more about international estate planning.
It’s never advisable to leave things up to chance. To make sure your loved ones are provided for and your estate is dealt with in the way you want, it’s essential to write a Will.
Get started now with our online Wills service, or contact our team for more information. Call on 0370 1500 100 or use our online enquiry form and we’ll call you back.
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Won’t My Partner Just Inherit Everything?
If you don’t have a Will, only your spouse or civil partner would inherit from you automatically.
Unmarried partners do not necessarily have any rights of inheritance. So-called common law marriages have no effect on inheritance.
Without a Will, unmarried partners do not inherit automatically. They can only inherit from you if they are financially dependent on you before you die. If that’s the case, they would have to claim an inheritance through the Courts under the Inheritance Act.
Even married partners and civil partners don’t necessarily inherit your entire estate when you die without a Will – your children may also inherit part (see What Happens If I Die Without A Will? above).
If you’re not married or in a civil partnership, it’s important to get legal advice to make sure your partner can benefit from your estate when you die. Contact us online or call 0370 1500 100 to learn more.
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Head to our online Wills service to get started straight away – it’s quick, efficient, and will give you peace of mind for the future.
Or, if you’d like to discuss your estate planning in more detail, get in touch with the team today. Call us on 0370 1500 100 or use our online enquiry form and we’ll call you back.