Peace of mind – why you need to make a Will
Making a will is something that people often don’t want to think about. Or you think to yourself there is always time to create one in the future or you may see it as a morbid subject you would rather gloss over and not think about. However, it is much better to create one sooner rather than later, if not for your own peace of mind but in order to help your loved ones in what would be a very low and difficult time.
What is a will?
A will is a legal document which sets out your wishes for what you wish to take place after your death. For a will to be valid you are required to appoint executors.
What are will executors?
Executors can be individuals or a firm of solicitors, this is trusted individuals who will carry out the wishes in your will. Executors can be both executors and beneficiaries or they may not benefit from your Will at all and only act as executors – it is entirely your choice. The thing to keep in mind is that by creating a will you are allowing yourself to make those choices and know that your assets i.e. everything you own and have worked hard for is to be distributed as you wish.
What happens if you die without creating a will?
In the situation someone dies without a will, this is called dying intestate. This means that your estate will be shared out according to the rules of intestacy. Under these rules, only certain people can inherit from your estate. The intestacy rules mean that if you died without a will your estate would pass as follows:
- If you are married or in a civil partnership at the time of your death they can inherit, however if you are informally separated it is worth noting that they could still inherit and benefit from your estate. Cohabiting partners who are not married or in a civil partnership can’t inherit under the rules of intestacy. However, please note that this differs for joint assets.
- If there are surviving children, grandchildren or great grandchildren and the estate is valued at more than £270,000 the partner will inherit all the personal property and belongings, the first £270,000 of the estate and half of the remaining estate. If there are no children or grandchildren, the partner will inherit the whole of the estate.
- Please also note that grandchildren and great grandchildren would only inherit if their parent has died before them. Therefore, if there is a grandchild you are close to you and you wish to benefit from your estate it is best to create a will to set out this wish.
- If none of the above applies, then parents, siblings etc. may inherit depending on the circumstances.
Guardianship of children under 18
A will allows you to choose who you wish to have guardianship over your minor children. Guardians have a legal authority to take care of a child including taking all parental decisions and helping manage a child’s property and inheritance. If you do not have a will or choose a guardian, the Court will have to choose one for you and it may not be someone you want to have care over your children.
Caring for your pet in your will
A will allows you to make sure someone takes care of your pet. Your pet, by law, is considered property so you would be unable to leave assets to your pet but you could name a beneficiary and gift your pet to them to ensure they are cared for by a trusted person in your life.
As explained, there are many reasons why you should create a will and many reasons more than the ones listed above. These reasons change depending on your situation and you always have the option to change your will if you change your mind, so you do not need to wait for the perfect time to make one. Another factor to keep in mind is you can only make a will whilst you have capacity to do so, no one knows what the future holds so it is best to get this organised now rather than later.
Visit our wills page to find out more about our wills services including meet the team, costs and a free glossary.
If you would like to discuss your current situation and make a will which sets out all of your wishes, please do not hesitate to get in contact with our Wills, Probate & Life Planning department who have extensive expertise in this area by calling Hayley on 0191 243 8167, appointments are available in person or online.