As a solicitor, I regularly find myself advocating the importance of everyone having a Will, no matter their age, personal circumstances, or perceived wealth. More than two thirds of people in the UK don’t have a valid Will.
Why is it important to have a Will in place?
The only way to ensure that your assets are gifted to those that you wish is to make a validly executed Will. Without this, your estate will be divided in accordance with statute which may not meet your wishes. Intestacy Rules (rules put in place if there is not a Will), may appear to be satisfactory to you now, but they can be changed at any time by Parliament.
“But I have nothing to leave anyway…”
Even those of us who have assets of very little value are likely to have something, whether it is a small amount in the bank or personal possessions which you might want to ensure goes to loved ones. You may also have pensions or life insurance policies which only become payable on death.
But can’t someone just make a claim against my estate anyway?
For someone to be able to make a claim against an estate, they need to be within a certain category of persons.. However, even if someone fits within these categories, it does not mean they will automatically have a successful claim, it just means they have the ability to make a claim.
What if I do want to leave someone out of my Will?
The family unit is becoming ever more complicated and it is not uncommon for families to fall out and become estranged. In these circumstances it is even more important that the advice of a solicitor is sought.
A solicitor who has experience in making Wills and also challenges against them will be alert to those risks and can take measures to mitigate them accordingly.
Other reasons for making a Will with a solicitor:
If you meet with a solicitor in order to prepare your Will, they will talk you through all of your personal circumstances. It might become apparent that your estate is chargeable to inheritance tax. The Will can then be drafted in a way which is the most beneficial for inheritance tax purposes and the solicitor can also advise on other lifetime planning such as gifting or the setting up of trusts to mitigate the potential inheritance tax liability.
If you have never made a Will or have previously made a Will that you would like to review, then contact Adam Scott, Partner, Solicitor and member of the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners on 01202 421111.