Having a clearly written and up-to-date Will in place can make a distressing time for your loved ones that bit less difficult.
Your Will enables you to decide what should happen to your money, possessions and property (together this is known as your estate) after you pass away. Writing a Will can ensure:
- Family heirlooms or gifts can be left to those you wish (your beneficiaries), ensuring treasured possessions are left to those who will cherish them
- Provision is made for your dependents
- Trusts can be incorporated to protect your loved ones’ inheritance
- Your estate can be better protected from the eroding effects of Inheritance Tax
- You can protect your estate from those you do not wish to inherit, estranged relatives, for example
- Provision for your pets can be made
- You can incorporate charitable donations to organisations you have supported throughout your life
- Your funeral wishes can be detailed for loved ones to follow, without having to second-guess what you would have wante
What happens if I do not have a Will?
Passing away without having a valid Will in place is called dying ‘intestate’. Your estate would be divided according to government rules called the Laws of Intestacy.
The rules are the same for everyone, so how your money and your property goes on to be distributed may not be anything like what you hoped would happen. For example:
- Only married or civil partners, plus a select few close relatives, can inherit through the Laws of Intestacy.
- Your husband or wife may end up sharing your wealth with your children or your parents, which could involve selling the family home in order to divide up the estate.
- If there is a surviving partner but you want to leave some provisions to your children, a child will only inherit from the estate through the Laws of Intestacy if the estate is valued at over £250,000.
- If you and your partner are unmarried, they will inherit nothing from your estate.
- If you are separated from your spouse but not yet divorced, he or she will inherit your estate as they would have done prior to your separation.
If you already have a Will, then you may find that it is no longer valid, which renders it as good as not having one at all. If any of the following apply then you should speak to one of our specialists today:
- DIY Will: You produced your Will yourself – there are a number of reasons it may not be valid, so could be dismissed in place of intestacy laws.
- Marriage: Usually, when you marry, your Will is automatically revoked (in England and Wales, but not in Scotland).
- Divorce: When a divorce takes place, however, it does not automatically revoke a Will. If you want to ensure that your ex does not inherit then you should update your Will.
- The addition of a new beneficiary: New additions to your family may mean you wish to change who receives certain items, or re-think how your estate will be divided between your beneficiaries.
- Death: If someone named in your Will has passed away.
If a number of changes need to be made, then you may find starting fresh with a new Will can be less complicated and could reduce the likelihood of people contesting your Will when the time comes for it to be executed.
What to do next
Making a Will is the most certain way you can provide for others after you have passed. At Bower Private Clients our Wills and Trusts service will help you to ensure that all the people and organisations you wish to look after in your Will go on to inherit just as you wish.
Our specially selected legal partners, are experts in Will writing, and will help you plan for the future of your estate, taking into account your personal family and financial circumstances. The utmost confidentiality and sensitivity is naturally guaranteed.
You will be guided through the options available, including advice on the tax consequences of your proposals, to ensure the smooth transfer of wealth to your beneficiaries.
For a consultation with a specialist Will writer please call Bower Private Clients on free phone 0800 411 8668.