People do not like thinking about death and the effects it has on those they leave behind, but it is something that has to be faced eventually.
Most people assume that all their possessions will automatically pass on to their husband or wife or other members of the family.
However, if you have not made a valid will, your property will pass according to the ‘Law of Intestacy’ and this may not be what you had planned for.
If any of the following circumstances apply to you, the intestacy rules may not cater for your situation in the way that you wanted;
- You are living together but are not legally married or in a civil partnership, but want your partner to inherit some or all of your estate.
- You are legally married or in a civil partnership and have children, and you want your spouse/civil partner to inherit all of your estate.
- You have no living relatives and want to leave your estate to your friends or a charity (The Crown may take your estate if you die leaving no will and no surviving relatives)
- You are legally married or in a civil partnership and you do not want your spouse/civil partner to inherit anything.
- You are legally married or in a civil partnership, but have no children.
- You are legally married or in a civil partnership and have children from a previous relationship, and you want to ensure that your children receive something from your estate.
- You have dependant relatives eg; children under 18, elderly relatives or relatives with a disability who have special needs, and you want to make sure that they are looked after and provided for.
(By making a will, you can appoint guardians to look after your children, and set up trusts in your will to provide for dependants.)
- Your estate is large and may be liable for Inheritance Tax(IHT), and you may want to make arrangements for tax planning.
IHT is currently payable by your estate on assets above £325000. You may think this sounds like a large
amount of money, and that you probably will not be affected, but you need to take account of your house, car, furniture, savings and all your personal belongings, plus any death benefits under
pensions & life policies.
It is natural that you should want your property and assets to pass on your death to whomever you choose. By making a will you can ensure that your assets go to those you wish should have them.
There are some assets that cannot be given away in your will (eg: property you hold in joint names usually passes automatically to the other joint owner) but most of your property can be dealt
with by a will.