Let’s face it, Wills are underappreciated and often overlooked. In fact, around 54% of the British public do not have one!

A few phrases come to mind when considering taking the plunge and drafting a Will:

  • “I’ll get around to it at some point”.
  • “I don’t need a Will”.
  • “I don’t want to talk about death”
  • “I don’t have any assets to give away”
  • “My family know what I want”.

Whilst speaking to solicitors is a scary prospect, it becomes worse when the chat involves what happens when you die. Breathe, it is fine to have these feelings. This is a step along the bumpy road to peace of mind.

Having a Will

A Will is a legally binding way of dealing with your affairs after your death. There are many important reasons to have a Will, for example:

  1. If you do not have a will, everything you own will be shared out in a way that is decided by the law. This is outlined in more detail below.
  2. A Will makes matters easier for your loved ones when you die due to the certainty and understanding that comes with it.
  3. A well-drafted Will can help reduce any inheritance tax liability that may arise against your Estate.
  4. A Will lets you choose people that you know and trust to deal with your affairs after your death.

To truly appreciate the importance of having a Will, you need to understand what happens without a Will.

The Intestacy Rules

If you die without a valid Will, your Estate passes via a special set of rules called the Intestacy Rules. Under these rules, only certain people can inherit your Estate when you die. The rules apply in order of closeness:

  1. Spouse or civil partner;
  2. Children/grandchildren (including adopted);
  3. Parents;
  4. Brothers and sisters;
  5. Grandparents;
  6. Uncles and aunts;
  7. Cousins; and
  8. The Crown

The amount that an individual will receive from your Estate is uncertain and depends on the value of your Estate and who has survived you from the list above. One certain thing is that there is no control over who receives what from your Estate.

A special mention must go to:

  1. Cohabitants or unmarried partners;
  2. Common-law spouses;
  3. Friends;
  4. Stepparents or stepchildren; and
  5. Ex-spouses or civil partners.

If you die without a Will, these people inherit nothing!

How can we help?

Our firm has a clear purpose to improve lives, communities and society and this starts with our clients.

Our specialist team of personal planning lawyers are on hand to offer you all the advice and assistance you need to put your affairs in order and protect your loved ones, should the worst happen.

Please contact Reiss Taylor for more information.