Where there’s a will, there’s a way – making a will is the best path to providing for loved ones
Research undertaken by the Macmillan Cancer Support charity revealed that nearly two thirds of adults in the UK have not prepared a will and, perhaps surprisingly, more than 40 per cent of those without a will are older than 55.
Perhaps these worrying statistics are fuelled by a number of common misconceptions, for example the idea that wills are only for the elderly or wealthy – or that if you are married and die without making a will 100 per cent of your estate will automatically pass to your spouse. However, under these circumstances, your estate is likely to be distributed by the rather archaic, and sometimes unjust, intestacy rules.
Consider a few of the most common scenarios. Firstly, if the deceased had a spouse but no children, grandchildren or great grandchildren, under the intestacy rules the spouse would inherit the whole of the deceased’s estate. Secondly, if the deceased had a spouse and children or grandchildren and an estate worth more than £250,000, then the spouse would inherit all the deceased’s personal possessions plus the first £250,000 and half of the remaining estate while the remaining half would pass to the children or, if a child had pre-deceased, the grandchildren.
If the deceased had children or grandchildren but no spouse, the estate may be shared equally between the children or, if a child has pre-deceased, the grandchildren. However, if the deceased had a partner and children, their partner would not have an automatic right to inherit; the estate would be shared equally between the children or, if a child has pre-deceased.
There are numerous reasons why we should not rely on the intestacy rules, from inheritance tax planning or the need to provide for an unmarried partner to simply not wishing for immediate family members to inherit – although any jointly-owned assets will pass automatically to the survivor, outside the intestacy rules.
For many of us, it seems, will-making is a task that often falls through the cracks for one reason or another – often until it is too late. So, if you have been putting off making your will, now is a good time to book an appointment with a solicitor and take the first step towards providing your loved ones with financial certainty for the future.
For information about making or reviewing your will, or for support and advice on the full range of legal matters, contact the George Ide private client team on 01243 786668 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.General, George Ide, News, Private Client