No Will? Reasons to change your mind…
Based on recent statistics, over 67% of people have not made a Will which means that dying without a Will is a real possibility for the majority of people. There are a few reasons why you should consider making a Will and keep it updated as your circumstances change.
Benefitting undesired family members
If you decide not to make a Will then your assets will be divided according to the Intestacy Rules, which set out which family members will receive your assets and the order of priority. Remember that distant uncle you never hear from? Or an estranged child? Depending on who is in your family there is a good chance the people receiving your assets are not the people you would choose to receive them, or in the proportions you might decide.
Protecting your nearest and dearest
Under the current Intestacy Rules your spouse or civil partner would receive the first £270,000 of your assets. Any remaining amount would be divided into two, with your partner receiving one half and any children you have sharing the other half equally. This could have disastrous consequences for your spouse or civil partner who may have to sell your home or investments in order to pay the children their share.
It is also important to remember that cohabiting partners have no protection at all under the intestacy rules.
Your choice of legatees
You might be quite content with how your estate would be divided in the event you didn’t have a Will, but even if that is the case there are often certain assets you would like to gift to a specific individual. The family business might be better off in the hands of the child who currently assists with it. The rental property might be a good source of income for your partner. That old train set might be the perfect gift for your train obsessed grandchild! Whatever the item or asset, making the active decision over who receives it can make all the difference.
Planning for the future
Wills can be useful vehicles for inheritance tax, care fee, and estate planning arrangements. You might decide that a Business Property Relief Trust or an Agricultural Property Relief Trust is a great way to pass on your family business to the next generation. Or perhaps you wish to protect some of the family home from being used to fund care for you or your partner in the future. You might have concerns about balancing the financial needs of your partner and your children from a previous relationship. Or it could be that you want to continue to pay your grandchildren’s school fees after you have died.
All of these are common situations that can be accounted for in a well drafted Will, giving you a range of planning options for the future.
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