No one wants to think about a time when they may not be here, but it’s something we must all be prepared for. That means ensuring there is a valid and legal will in place that states exactly how you would like your estate and assets to be divided in the event of your death.
Having a will in place before you pass on can make what is already a difficult time for your family just a little easier. Without one, there can be confusion over the distribution of your belongings and might even lead to legal proceedings. In order to avoid this, it is important to address this issue and seek free personal injury advice before it’s too late.
Why you need to have a will
- First and foremost, without a will in place, it becomes up to the government to decide who inherits your property, money and possessions under the Law of Intestacy (1925). The decision they make is unlikely to be the way you would have chosen yourself.
If you are unmarried and have no children or close relatives, then your estate will automatically become the property of the Crown (government) if you do not have a will.
By having a legally binding will in place, you are able to decide exactly gets what and how much of it.
- When you pass on anything in your will, it becomes subjected to something called inheritance tax, which is everything you own once you have passed away and anything you owe has been taken away.
Having a will in can reduce the amount of inheritance tax that your family have to pay.
- Making a will ensures that arrangements are made for the future of your children. No one wants to think about children being without their parents, but it is important that you prepare for the worst in your will. If your children will be below the legal age to live alone, your will can appoint guardians that you have chosen to care for your children should you pass away. If you fail to do this, then it will be up to the relevant authorities to make that decision.
- A will allows you to leave money or possessions to people who are outside of your immediate family. This could be close friends or godchildren.
- You can specify if you would like any charitable donations to be made in your name. If you have a cause that is particularly close to your heart, you can set aside an amount of money or even a valuable item to be donated to that charity in the event of your death. Charitable donations stated in wills are free from inheritance tax.
- Funerals can be expensive events, and it is becoming more common for people to set aside money either through prepaid plans or state in their will that a certain amount should be used for their funeral, along with their explicit wishes. This can ease the financial pressure on children and family, and allows them to play your funeral exactly how you would have wanted it.
What could happen if you don’t make a will?
If you don’t draw up a will before you pass away, or if your will has been drawn up incorrectly or isn’t legally binding, then who receives your possessions and assets can become something of a complicated issue.
As more and more people are cohabiting and having children without getting married, your partner may not receive anything from your estate unless they are mentioned in your will.
Without this legal document, intestacy rules will be used to divide up your estate, which may result in your partner not receiving as much as you would like them too. Essentially, without a will you have no say in who will receive your estate once you pass on; this may result in it being left to your parents or siblings (if you don’t have children) regardless of where you may want it to go.
Finally, without a will in place your family could be left with a much larger inheritance tax bill.