Making a Will ensures your wishes are carried out after you die and enables you to look after loved ones when you’re no longer around.
You can also plan for tax in your Will, avoiding unnecessarily burdening loved ones with a substantial tax bill when you die. If you own or run a business, you can make arrangements for your business continuation and business assets too.
By making a Will, you decide what happens to your estate when you die, removing the stress from loved ones at a distressing time for them and giving you the peace of mind that you’re taking care of those you love.
If you die without a Will, the rules of intestacy decide who benefits from your estate and who deals with the administration of your estate.
The rules of intestacy provide limited protection for married couples and civil partners, although it is not always the case your husband, wife or civil partner will automatically receive all of your assets. Sometimes, other beneficiaries are entitled to benefit from your estate under the rules of intestacy who may make a claim.
Unmarried couples won’t receive anything, regardless of how long they’ve been living together.
Sometimes, intestacy rules mean distant relatives inherit or even the government.
As a guide, the intestacy rules mean:
The intestacy rules could have negative results, including these possibilities:
The rules of intestacy state spouses/civil partners and immediate family inherit – but not necessarily in the way you’d like them to and with the real risk of loved ones being excluded, especially if you’re unmarried. Not having a Will also increases the risk of someone who feels they should have inherited or have inherited more, making an inheritance claim against your estate.
As your Will should state your wishes for your entire estate when you die, you should include everything that enables your wishes to be carried out and ensures your loved ones are provided for when you’re no longer around.
As a guide, you should consider the following when writing your Will:
Business succession planning is important to enable your business to continue running after you die. You also need to consider tax benefits of succession planning if you own business assets.
Be sure to consider your business when you make your Will, including:
Whilst a Will is designed to enable you to express your wishes for your estate when you die, the law can sometimes make this difficult for you.
The Inheritance (Provision For Family And Dependents) Act 1975 states that certain individuals can make a claim against an estate if the Will is deemed not to have made reasonable financial provision for them.
Under the Act, the following could make a claim against your estate if it is found that reasonable financial provision has not bene made for them :
The court has the power to decide the outcome of a claim made against your estate, regardless of your Will. A court can choose to make a provision for the person making the claim as it views reasonable.
The outcome of any claim depends on the individual circumstances, although courts tend to view adult children who were not financially dependent on the deceased as not necessarily entitled to benefit from the estate.
It’s important you consider your decision regarding excluding someone from your Will, and if you still want to then it’s a good idea to make a separate statement which details your reasons for the exclusion as this can be used as evidence if a claim is made.
Wills are complex and getting them just right is so important – a legally watertight Will not only reflects your wishes more clearly, ensuring loved ones will be provided for, but it is also less likely to be challenged by a claim against your estate.
If something is missed or not stated clearly, that can create problems for loved ones when you die.
Solicitors understand every aspect of the law and can advise you on all considerations and help you to draft it in the clearest way to help avoid disputes among beneficiaries. Your chosen solicitor can also hold the original or a copy of the Will for your peace of mind and to make it easier for loved ones to find when you die.
A professionally drafted Will be legally watertight to provide the best possible protection for your loved ones in the future and to give you peace of mind today.
For advice on writing your Will or to discuss any queries you may have about your Will, you can contact our specialist lawyers on 0800 988 3674 or 01244 311 633 via email on firstname.lastname@example.org and arrange to see a solicitor at any of our branches across Chester and Wrexham.
© Bartletts Solicitors Limited 2020 - Offices in England and Wales