All adults need to make a Will, and there are many reasons as to why you should do so, and these include the following:
- You decide who is to receive your assets – if you don’t make a Will the law does it for you and as a result the “wrong” people may inherit!
- A Will is the only place you can appoint Guardians for your young children – if you don’t make a Will this opportunity is lost, and your children may be looked after by someone you wouldn’t have chosen – they could even end up in care!
- You choose who you want to administer your affairs when you’re gone by appointing Executors.
- If you are an unmarried couple (or same sex couple who have not entered into a civil partnership) the law makes no provision for “common law” relationships – and this could have devastating financial and legal consequences for the survivor, as they are not entitled to receive anything!
- By making a Will the legal process is straightforward, and your affairs can be settled much more quickly. For those dying “intestate”, that is without making a Will, the process will invariably take longer to complete.
- You can leave gifts to friends, family or charities – without a Will you can’t do so.
- You can set out your wishes for your funeral arrangements.
A Last Will and Testament can enable you to do all these things.
However, if your circumstances are more complex there may be a need to treat part of your Estate (especially that relating to property) in a more detailed way. For example, it may be advantageous to create a Trust to enable your beneficiaries to receive their inheritance more effectively.
You may also wish to add certain conditions that allow you some form of control and protection for your assets against third parties. This will be achieved by the appointment of Trustees who will administer the inheritance as you would have wished.
You may have business interests, and the passing on of business assets and control may require special clauses to be included within you Will in order to protect both the business and your beneficiaries.
In these cases it is very important that the correct direction is taken and, as a result, additional specialist work may well be necessary.
The Consequences of Dying Without a Will
Every year hundreds of thousands of people have their bereavement compounded by the fact that their loved ones left no clear instructions on how their Estate should be dealt with in the event of their death. Making a Will is quite simply the most selfless thing a person can do. Regardless of the size of the Estate dealing with a person’s passing where there is no Will creates much distress on both an emotional and financial level. Additionally, if a person dies without a Will, the partner does not inherit the Estate automatically. Instead, the Rules of Intestacy are applied.
Furthermore, without the existence of a valid Will the family home could well be at risk.
People’s homes are usually very dear to them and it is often the main asset passed down to their children. However, in many cases nowadays, the home is used quite simply and legally as the main disposable asset to pay for nursing home fees. In 2012 over 70,000 homes were taken to pay for long term care. With careful Estate planning and asset protection measures this can be avoided. Here at Bradley & Benson we are able to assist our clients who may potentially be faced with this type of problem, and to help them to ensure that the family home actually remains in the Testators hands, to pass on to their loved ones.
If you require further information about making your Will please do not hesitate to contact us. You’ll find us to be friendly and helpful – and not in the slightest bit stuffy!