Download our free How to Make A Will Guide. Everyone knows what a Will is – most people agree that they need one – but not everyone knows precisely why you need to write a Will or even how to write one.
Many people wrongly assume that all their property and money will automatically pass to their spouse on their death, but the truth is that if you don’t make a Will, the law deems you to have died intestate.
This can be distressing for your loved ones, who may suffer financial hardship as a result at a time when they least need it. So it’s crucial to understand how to write a Will and its importance to you and your family.
If you make a Will before you die, then the legal process in dealing with your affairs will be much easier (and therefore less expensive) and much simpler for your loved ones to cope with at a time when they will need as little extra stress as possible.
Once done, you can relax, forget about it for the time being (we suggest a review every 3-5 years) and enjoy your life.
What happens if you don’t write a Will?
If you don’t make a Will and die intestate, you risk consequences, including:
- You have no control over who will inherit what you own. Who inherits what depends on which of your relatives is alive at your death and how large your estate is. Spouses may not receive everything, and charities, friends and unmarried partners may receive nothing.
- If you are a parent of young children, then you will have no control over who looks after them when you die. In such circumstances, the courts will appoint a guardian on your behalf – someone you may not have chosen.
- If you are not married/not in a civil partnership and have no Will, your partner may be unable to inherit from you, which can create further heartache and financial problems upon your death.
- Your estate may have to pay more Inheritance Tax (IHT) than necessary if the value exceeds IHT thresholds and you haven’t considered a Will, which mitigates IHT for your circumstances. (See Will Power’s free Inheritance Tax Planning Guide.)
- Your estate value may be considered for future care fee assessments by the Local Authority.
- Your family may have to use additional professionals to advise how the estate should be distributed. Their charges could mount up considerably, leaving less money for your family.