Why make a Will: Your Needs – how vital is Legal Planning in YOUR family circumstances?

Do you need to make a Will, Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), Power of Attorney or Medical Directive?

Why make a Will? Are You;

Single and 18+?
Living With a Partner?
Married?
Separated?
Divorced?
If you are under 18, you are totally reliant on your parents having their legal planning up to date, unless you are service personnel on active duty.

Why make a Will:

If you do not make a Will, then the Government have rules called the Rules of Intestacy which will decide where your assets will go.  And it won’t be what you would have wished in a lot of cases.   And they often are not at all fair!

If you are the mother or father of children, they share it equally (nothing for your partner unless they attempt to make a claim through the Courts). If NO:

If you have parents alive, it will be shared equally between them. If NO:

Do you have brothers or sisters alive? Yes – will be shared equally between them. If NO:

Grandparents alive? Yes – shared equally between them. If NO:

Any uncles or aunts alive? Yes – shared equally between them. If NO:

Everything to the Crown, Duchy of Cornwall or Lancaster depending on where you live.

Recommendations: even if the Rules of Intestacy do achieve exactly what you would wish to happen, a Will is more efficient and personal way of achieving what you wish to happen.That’s why to make a Will.

Living With Partner – why make a Will?
Living together is very common, and few people realise that their partner has very few rights and will:

Not inherit anything if you die.
Have very little security if you lose the ability to make decisions through accident  or illness.

It makes sense to protect their rights, and avoid them having to take your heirs under the Rules of Intestacy to Court to try and obtain any provision, if they can.

It is quite common for the surviving partner to be thrown out by the heirs to the dead partner: two major traumas for both the partner, and probably for the family too.

If you have children, only the mother will normally have any rights, unless the partner has acquired Parental Responsibility. It is also essential to ensure your Wills appoint each other and preferably a reserve Guardian.

Married
If you do not make a Will and Testament, the Government will do it for you under the Laws of Intestacy. In many circumstances, your spouse will not inherit everything. It is not at all uncommon for the survivor to be put at the mercy of inheriting relatives or, worse still, their creditors.

Under normal circumstances, the surviving parent would automatically maintain responsibility for the children. However, it is prudent to appoint Guardians to ensure your children are properly looked after whatever happens.

Separated? You May be in for a shock!!
FIRST, as you did not leave a Will, there will be a few extra formalities to go through to appoint an Executor who will then be able to start the process of releasing funds to your family. Read the information below carefully and understand its impact: intestacy often results in considerable, quite unexpected, suffering and aggravation: where does the money come from to put in Trusts or give to relatives? Probably the grieving survivor will be forced to move, compounding the stress.

Bear in mind that no one will get anything until the Inheritance Tax bill has been paid.

IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN:
Your spouse will inherit the first £125,000 of your Estate.

The balance will be split equally in two: the first half will be given to your children (or their creditors if you are unlucky!). The other half will be kept in Trust for your children, with your wife being entitled to just the interest with no access to the capital.

NO CHILDREN:
Your spouse will inherit the first £250,000 of your Estate. If you have a parent alive, the balance will be split in half: with half to your spouse, and the other half to your parents. Generally speaking, this will be at a time in their lives when it will either increase the Governments take on Inheritance Tax, or perhaps it will save the local Council the cost of Nursing Home Fees. Or perhaps they will need the money.

If neither parent is alive, your brothers and sister step into their shoes.

No parents, brothers or sisters? The spouse receives the whole of your Estate.

Divorced?

Your ex-partner could have a claim on your estate for maintenance, depending on the terms of your divorce – even if you are not required to pay maintenance under the terms of your divorce.

Separated but divorce not yet final?

You may be shocked to discover that your “ex” still stands to inherit pretty much everything.  You may wish to give us a call.

You have a Will Already?
Well done for being organised: your Will remains valid, but any part of it which refers to your spouse will effectively be deleted. This may mean that your Will no longer disposes of all your assets and the balance will pass under the Laws of Intestacy.

Either way, it would be wise to revise your Will and other Legal planning.

Make a Will and Lasting Powers of Attorney are just sound Legal Planning everyone should have to protect them and their family.

Why make a Will?  Contact us