We are all facing uncertain times over the next few weeks and months and do not know how the coronavirus will impact our lives or those of our family and friends. Social distancing and isolation has shown us how important it is to provide protection to our loved ones as we do not know what the future holds.
Writing a will is often overlooked with the majority of the British public not having one. If you are feeling anxious and vulnerable and want peace of mind and reassurance by writing a will then please do not hesitate to get in touch so we can give you some guidance.
A will is a legally binding way of dealing with your affairs after your death. There are many important reasons to have a will, for example:
1. If you do not have a will, everything you own will be shared out in a way which is decided by the law (known as the intestacy rules). This is outlined in more detail below.
2. A will makes matters easier for your loved ones when you die due to the certainty and understanding that comes with it. Without a will, the process can be more time consuming and stressful.
3. A well drafted will can help with inheritance tax planning.
4. A will lets you choose people that you know and trust to deal with your affairs after your death. A will is especially important if you have children or other family who depend on you financially, or if you want to leave something to people outside your immediate family.
The Intestacy Rules
If you die without a valid will, your estate passes under the Intestacy Rules. Under the intestacy rules, only certain people can inherit your estate when you die, there is a cap on what a spouse can inherit if a couple have children and the rules of who can apply for letters of administration follow certain rules. It may be that you are happy for certain loved ones to inherit but not others or you do not feel that a particular loved one would cope with sorting out your estate, especially if the estate is complicated or it would cause them to worry. It may be that the chosen loved one lives abroad which may cause practical implications.
The amount that an individual will receive from your estate is uncertain and depends on the value of your estate and who has survived you from the beneficiaries detailed in the intestacy rules. One thing that is certain is that there is no control over who receives what from your estate.
The intestacy rules do not cover cohabitants or unmarried partners, common law spouses, friends, stepparents or stepchildren, ex-spouses or civil partners. If you die without a will, these people will not inherit from your estate.
How can we help?
Battrick Clark Solicitors can offer you all the advice and assistance you need to put your affairs in to order and make the process of preparing a will less stressful. To allow you to stay at home, we are able to offer Skype appointments. However, if you do not have Skype and would like a will, please get in touch and we will try to find an alternative way to assist you.