A will is essential to people from all walks of life and in any situation. A will deed brings peace of mind to loved ones, reduces unnecessary heartache to family and friends, assures that your assets end up where you want them too and protects your estate from predators.

What happens if I die without making a will?

If you pass away without making a valid will you die intestate. With this you bypass your legal right to appoint whomever you want to distribute and benefit from your personal assets. If no will is made then you risk your estate passing to someone you have no intention of leaving this too. Below is a table of how your estate will be passed through the intestacy rules. This table doesn't include friends, certain family members, step children or unmarried partners.

By allowing your estate to pass through the intestacy tables you also delay its distribution, as there will be no rush to ensure the rightful beneficiaries receive your estate. If there is an inheritance tax liability then your estate will be held until whomever is to receive the estate foots the bill. Writing a will ensures the people you want to benefit do and also inheritance tax is dealt with beforehand or removed completely.

I am married, should I be making a will?

If you’re married or in a civil partnership you may feel that you don’t need a will and, it’s true that your husband or civil partner would inherit if you died without one. But they wouldn’t necessarily inherit everything you own – especially if you have children. It could mean that the family home has to be sold or – worse – that your husband has to sue your children to remain there. If you’re living together (but aren’t married) you should definitely draw up a will as you have little or no rights if your partner were to die.

I am single, why do I need a will?

If you are single a will is still necessary to ensure your estate passes to who you want it too. A will gives you control of who you would like to gift your assets too. If no will is made your estate will pass through the government chosen channels and could end up with a family member who you did not choose.

I have children; do I really need a will?

If you have children then a will should be mandatory for two reasons. The first is if your children are under the age of 18 then your deed gives you the opportunity to appoint legal guardians. The birth mothers of children automatically have parental responsibility. But with fathers the situation is slightly more complicated.

  • Since December 2003, if a father of the child who has not married the mother is named on the Birth Certificate, then he will have full parental responsibility
  • If, the birth is registered prior to this and the unmarried father IS named on the Birth Certificate then he will NOT have parental responsibility and will have to gain this through a court order or rely on the mother naming him as a legal guardian in her will
  • If, however the birth was registered prior to December 2003 and the father was NOT named then the couple can re-register the birth adding the father to the birth certificate

The birth mother can still give parental responsibility to the natural father using the conventional methods; in writing, the use of a Parental Responsibility Agreement or by marrying the father after the birth.

It is common misconception that your children will automatically pass to your family members, it is up to the discretion of the court to decide who your children would be best to live with, this can be with your family or they can choose to move your children to external households. By appointing legal guardians you nullify this problem and ensure that your children pass to whomever you see fit.

he second reason is you are able to dictate what age your children will be allowed to inherit. Giving a large sum of money or property to a child just turned 18 can be a difficult decision, you can make a conscious decision what your children are allowed to inherit at what ages to give you peace of mind and protect your children’s future.

The benefit of having a will for people with children of all ages is that if no will is made then the court will appoint someone to deal with your estate, which can delay your assets being distributed and will not always mean it will be allocated fairly or how you wish.

I own a property, should I have a will?

The biggest asset in the majority of people’s estates is their property, as well as this it is also their most vulnerable.

Property can be included within your estate to just pass to your spouse or children, this means that you are in control where your property ends up. If no will is made and no one is gifted the property then it will move through the intestacy table and could end up with someone who you do not wish to benefit.

There are ways to protect your family further and ensure completely that your beneficiaries receive your property and are able to continue living in it. 

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