One of our professional partners, Greenwoods GRM has written about the importance of a making a Will. Kerri Pellington-Woodrow, a Partner from their Private Client Team writes:
Making a Will does not have to be complicated and once done gives you peace of mind. Just having a Will may not be enough; it must be the right type of Will - one that takes into account your wishes, and your personal and financial circumstances.
What happens if I die without a Will?
Without a Will, the law states who benefits and by how much and this may not reflect your wishes:
married with children - your spouse/civil partner receives all your personal belongings (for example: house contents, jewellery and car) and the first £250,000 of your assets. They also receive half of anything else above and beyond this sum. Your children will receive the other half once they reach the age of 18 years.
married with no children - your spouse / civil partner gets everything.
single or co-habiting - your next of kin inherits. Your partner (if any) is not entitled to benefit. They would need to initiate legal proceedings against your estate. This can mean unmarried partners losing their home.
no family - the Crown takes it all.
You may also be liable to tax that could otherwise have been avoided.
Why make a Will?
Having the right Will in place allows you to:
choose who should administer your estate, known as executors.
specify whom you wish to inherit your estate, in what order and in what proportions.
make cash or specific legacies to family, friends or your favourite charities.
appoint suitable guardians for young children rather than leaving the decision to the Courts.
set up appropriate trusts for children to protect their inheritance until a specified age - for example 21 or 25 - and appoint the right people to manage the trust.
protect the inheritance of your children or other beneficiaries should your spouse re-marry after your death.
protect your share of the property from being sold to pay for your spouse’s future care fees.
set out your funeral wishes.
Taking professional advice when making a Will also provides an opportunity to undertake some wider estate planning, which may result in less inheritance tax being paid. Working with your existing advisors, such as your such as independent financial advisors and accountants, enables us to ensure your wishes are met, your family are financially secure and inheritance tax can be paid without the need to liquidate assets or take out a loan.
Review your Will when your circumstances change or at least every three years.
Tell your family/executors where your Will is stored.
Once you have a Will, if you get married or enter into a civil partnership, your Will is automatically revoked.
Getting divorced or dissolving a civil partnership means any gift to your former spouse/civil partner is cancelled as is their role as your executor.
If you are separated but not divorced, your spouse/partner will still benefit from any gifts you have left them in your Will.
Jointly owned assets usually pass automatically to the survivor and not through your Will. Advice should be taken if you do not wish this to happen.
Having a Will is especially important if you have young children, or if you are part of a blended family.
Not having a Will, or having an unsuitable Will, can be very costly to your estate and to your family. This is not the legacy you want to leave behind.
For more information and advice on preparing a Will please contact Kerri Pellington-Woodrow, a partner from the Greenwoods GRM LLP Private Client team on +44 (0)1733 887675 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Whilst Greenwoods GRM LLP stands by the views and advice given in this article, the fact that two situations are rarely the same means that you should seek legal advice before relying on its contents.
About Greenwoods GRM
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