I have been asked by so many people “why should I make a Will?” Some people say “I am young I don’t need to make a Will yet”. Others have told me “I don’t have time to deal with making a Will right now.”
"Make your voice heard"
Everyone’s circumstances are different but I want to cover as many scenarios as I can here and explain why making a Will is so important.
I am separated from my spouse, not divorced but I have not updated my Will/I have not made a Will.
• Being separated has no affect on your Will. You are still legally married. If your spouse is a named beneficiary in your existing Will and you die, they will still inherit under that Will even if you have been separated for years.
• If you have no Will, under Intestacy Rules your spouse will still inherit your estate. They will get the whole of your estate if you do not have children or the first £250,000 plus chattels (personal possessions) if you do have children and half of the remainder of the estate. Your children will get the rest.
• If you are living with a new partner and you die without a Will your new partner will get nothing and your spouse will inherit your estate.
• Your biological or adopted children can inherit without a Will but if you have step children they can only inherit if you make a Will and make them a beneficiary under that Will.
• Anyone financially dependent on you at the time of your death and not mentioned in your Will can only inherit under your estate if they make a costly and time consuming claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. This also applies to them if you have not made a will. This application can be defended.
• If you have children, having a Will allows you to appoint a guardian for your children if they are still minors.
I live with my partner, we do not have any children and we do not intend to have any children. What is the point of us making a Will?
• It is important to remember that Wills are not just about making provision for dependants. They are also about making sure that everything that you own goes to those you want to inherit it or to an organisation that you want to benefit.
• Without a Will you will die “intestate” and your partner is not entitled to inherit anything from your estate. If your partner was financially dependent on you, again, they would have to make an application to the Court under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
• Without a Will you will have no control over who inherits your estate
• If you are still married to someone else, separated but not divorced they will inherit your estate not your current partner.
• If you do not make a Will you cannot be sure that you have done all that you can do to keep your estate’s value under £325,000.00 (the current inheritance tax threshold). Inheritance tax is currently paid at 40%.
I am young so why would I make a Will?
• As soon as you start to earn your own money and/or have possessions, you have assets. Wouldn’t you want to decide who got your possessions?
• We all have another form of property that many of us do not even consider.......
There are so many differing types of digital property such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Snapchat, etc. The list goes on but wherever you have an account you have digital property.
Nearly all of us will have at least one email account.
Smartphones, Tablets, laptops and other digital gadgets hold virtually all of our information whether this is personal or professional. They tell the story of our lives, our interests, social habits and hobbies. They are an insight into our personalities and identities.
Whilst some social media sites do not allow anyone access to the account even after death, others will.
What if you do not want your accounts exposed and scrutinised? Do you really want anyone reading your emails and accessing your internet history?
Having a Will would enable you to appoint someone to take responsibility for your digital property and if you want, have it deleted upon your death. If you did not want them to have your passwords when you are alive you can get a safety deposit box and give them access to it in your Will by leaving them the contents of the box.
It is too expensive to make a Will
Making a Will is never going to be as expensive of having to go to court to seek an inheritance under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
Our fees for making a Will are:
• Simple Will £100 plus VAT
• Simple Mirror Will £150 plus VAT
• Hourly rate for more complex Will £110 plus VAT
Visit our "Definition of Wills" page for a definition of what is and is not a simple Will.
The Most Important Reasons for Having a Will
No matter who you are or what assets you have (few or many) if you have a detailed Will in place your family will be aware of your wishes. You can include things like funeral arrangements and this means that your family do not have to make difficult decisions at a very distressing time.
Not having a Will in place can also cause bitter family disputes. There has been a rise in people challenging the inheritance left by their relatives and/or partners. This has led to families bitter court battles.
There is also a rise in people making claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. Again, this sometimes leads to bitter disputes
Families are broken and feuds are made by simply not having a Will in place.
About the Author
Samantha Ibrahim is a Chartered Legal Executive within Spencers Solicitors Private Client Team. Samantha’s main focus is on the provision of Wills and Probate services.
In addition to drafting Wills and providing advice on the administration of estates, Samantha is also able to obtain letters of administration, grant of probate, advanced decisions, lasting power of attorney and Court of Protection Deputyship.