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Wills for the willing

None of us can predict what the future has in store, and making provisions for when we are gone is the last thing most of us want to consider. But have you thought about the financial consequences of dying without leaving an up to date and valid Will.

None of us can predict what the future has in store, and making provisions for when we are gone is the last thing most of us want to consider. But have you thought about the financial consequences of dying without leaving an up to date and valid Will.

Most people simply assume that their money and Estate automatically passes to their nearest and dearest but this is very much not the case – if you die without leaving a Will then the law will determine who will receive your money and who won’t.

And in many cases you will be surprised and perhaps a little horrified to find out what the law will do with your money and property

The following are some examples:

Married couples and Civil Partnerships

You would assume that your Estate would automatically pass to your surviving spouse or civil partner.

Fact: If you have children then your spouse or civil partner may have to share your Estate with those children.

If you don’t have any children then your spouse/civil partner may have to share your Estate with your wider family (parents, brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces) even if you are estranged from them or wouldn’t wish them to benefit.

Unmarried couples

It is a commonly held belief that if a couple live together they become “common-law” husband and wife but there is no automatic protection for unmarried partners.

Fact: Although you may have lived together for many years and even have children together, your partner may get nothing at all from your estate. They could take their case to court but this is likely to be an expensive and emotional process that may not be successful.

Separated couples

Many couples separate, become involved a new long term relationship (and may even have children in that relationship) but never get around to becoming legally divorced from their first spouse/civil partner.

Fact: Unless you are legally divorced, your spouse or civil partner will still be entitled to inherit all or some of your property and may have continuing rights over part of the remainder – your new partner and children may receive nothing.

No living (or traceable) relatives

You may assume that your Estate will go to one or more charities.
Fact: The whole of your Estate goes to the Crown.

These are just a small number of examples of the situations that commonly arise and where there is a very high degree of confusion or misunderstanding as to what would happen to your money and property if there is no valid Will.

The only means of ensuring that your Estate goes to the family and friends that you would want it to is to make a properly constructed and valid Will.

Can I write my own Will?

Yes you can, but is it worth risking your family’s inheritance? The Probate Registry can reject a home-made Will if it is incorrectly written or witnessed. Solicitors make hundreds of pounds every year from Wills that were badly drawn up.

Why do so many people leave it too late to make a Will?

Nobody would deliberately leave their loved ones with a legacy of problems and heartache, but making a Will can seem complicated and many people are put off by the traditional methods of using a solicitor or bank.

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