We understand that most people don’t want to think too far into the future, and especially about what would happen if you were no longer around. However, it is important to think about it, have conversations around it, and to have a plan. Putting a Will in place will provide peace of mind and reassurance to yourself and your loved ones.
We take a look at some of the reasons why you should have a Will, and some of the common misconceptions surrounding Wills.
Aren’t Wills just for the elderly?
No! It is advised that every adult has a current and valid Will. Having a Will lets you choose who your money goes to and gives you greater control, which wouldn’t be the case if you died without a Will (known as intestate).
I live with my partner, but we’re not married. Am I fine as I’m a ‘common law spouse’?
Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a ‘common law wife’ or ‘common law husband’. Many people believe that if they have been cohabiting with their partner for many years, and have joint assets etc that they are covered by the same type of law as married couples. However, this is not the case.
If you own a house together and want your home to go to the surviving partner if one of you was to die, that won’t automatically be the case. It will depend on whether your home is owned jointly or jointly and severally (tenants in common). If you own the property as joint tenants, then the property will automatically go to your partner. However, if you don’t, then the portion of the property the deceased owned will be passed to their next of kin which might not be their partner.
But I’m married, won’t everything just go to my spouse?
Not necessarily! If you die without a Will, it is known as dying intestate and you are subject to specific rules set out by law. These rules do not take any account of your own personal circumstances.
I have children, what would happen to them if I didn’t have a Will?
The answer to this depends on a number of factors. There are only a few people who are able to inherit under intestate laws. These include married spouses or civil partners who remain in these relationships legally until the time of death.
Also if there are surviving children, grandchildren or great grandchildren then they are able to inherit. However, this is only the case if the estate is valued at more than £250,000. If there is a surviving partner and a child then the partner will inherit:
- all the personal property and belongings of the person who has died
- the first £250,000 of the estate
- half of the remaining estate.
The child will then only inherit half of any estate worth over the initial £250,000. So if your house or savings fall below that amount, your child will inherit nothing.
I made a Will 10 years ago, it’s fine right?
It might not be fine! It is best to revisit your Will every two years. This is because circumstances in your life might change meaning that your Will could be inaccurate and not reflect your current wishes.
For more information on our Wills and Lasting Power of Attorney services, please visit our pages here.
Or to make a 20-minute free initial consultation, call and speak to one of our specialist law team who will be happy to assist you further on 0800 614 722.