Why make a Will?
40% of the population die without making a Will. If you do not make a Will, the law decides what happens to your estate and this may not be what you expect or intend.
You may also fail to take advantage of possible tax planning opportunities and your estate could well incur more tax as a result.
Married Couples (including Civil Partners)
You should not assume that because you are married everything automatically passes to your spouse (or partner) on death. This is not necessarily the case, particularly if you have children and your estate exceeds £250,000. If you have children under 18 you should also consider using your Will to appoint guardians.
Unmarried couples who live together must make Wills if they wish to leave assets to each other. The law does not give a surviving cohabitee the same rights as a married couple. They could get nothing and may even be forced to leave the property you occupied together. There is no such thing as a "Common Law Spouse".
If a couple have lived together for more than two years, or the survivor was financially dependent on the deceased, the survivor can make a claim for financial provision. However, this involves complicated and lengthy legal proceedings that might otherwise be avoided by making Wills.
The Dangers of Homemade Wills
Will drafting is a highly specialised area of law that should only be undertaken by qualified, experienced professionals who are properly insured. A Will is a legal document that must meet all the requirements laid down by law in order for it to be valid. There are often hidden complexities not appreciated by an individual when making a Will and which only come to light on a proper review and consideration of personal circumstances. Attempting to save the relatively modest cost of a professionally drawn Will could subsequently cause distress and financial loss to your loved-ones.
Keeping Your Will Updated
Whilst Wills are normally drafted to take account of likely future circumstances, it is wise to review your Will every few years to reflect changes in your life and taxation. You should review your Will on any of the following events:
- Death of spouse or partner
- Marriage or divorce
- Birth of children
- Personal injury award
- A significant inheritance
- Moving house
- Sale of your business
Adams & Remers offer a bespoke Will drafting service, tailored to suit your individual requirements. Not only will you be able to use the services of our experienced lawyers, but you will also have access to the expertise of the firm's market-leading tax and estate planning specialists. To assist you with some of the points you will need to consider when making your Will, we have prepared a Will Instruction Booklet.
For further advice contact our team direct or talk to your usual contact in the firm.