Why Make a Will?
Only by having an up-to-date Will in place, can you be sure that your wishes will be carried out on death.
It is a well known fact that inheritance disputes are on the rise; this is not necessarily because someone was cut out of a Will, but because the person who died had failed to make a Will in the first place.
We all have our reasons for not getting round to something, but by not making a Will you can be causing a lot of upset and financial worries for your loved ones.
If you die without leaving a will, then the intestacy rules are very strict as to who gets what. They do not provide for unmarried partners and cohabitees, and do not provide for stepchildren.
Not only is it a case of who will get your worldly goods, but who will take care of your children if you were to die before they are 18 years old? There will be enough uncertainty and distress for your children at that time in any event, without court cases and arguing between the family.
Wills can also be used to protect assets for future generations by including trusts and to help reduce the burden of inheritance tax, and also to protect from care fees, and future marriages.
Having worked in this area for over 20 years, we have seen many scenarios that have not been properly provided for, such as:-
- Unmarried, but engaged couple, in their mid-30’s with a 5 year old child. House owned jointly (not a problem) but all cash, investments, including a substantial business held in the man’s name. The man died without a will. The costs to resolve this situation are substantial because (but not limited to):-
- Partner was being provided for by him during his lifetime, so has a claim against the estate.
- The person entitled to the estate is the young child who is not legally old enough to deal with it
- Partner has to claim against her own child under the intestacy rules
- Business in limbo as no person with legal capacity to run it until matters resolved
- Court involvement to appoint a person to act on behalf of the minor child
- Court case then to decide how the assets should be distributed
- Husband and wife have two adult children. One child is healthy, the other has mental health issues which meant that he was not able to handle money. Husband and wife died in a joint accident. Under the rules of intestacy, estate shared equally between the two children, but, the disabled child could not handle their money, and a court application had to be made to have his money set aside into a trust. The cost and stresses of dealing with this by his sister by far outweighed the reasonable costs of their parents getting wills in place.
- Husband and wife with four children between them. This is the second marriage for both partners and each have children from their first marriages. They didn’t get round to making new wills.
- Husband died first, and due to the size of the assets in his sole name, everything passed to his wife.
- When she died, everything went to her own children, with nothing to the children of her late husband.
Contact Mount Park Legal to obtain some advice on your own situation; Remember, it will cost more in time, money and stress to resolve matters later than the costs now to get your Wills in place!
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