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This article was published on March 19th, 2019
We work hard to provide for ourselves and those that we love and so it is important to ensure you have a suitable will in place. It does not matter whether you consider yourself not to have many possessions.
By making a will, you can choose who will benefit from your estate and avoid problems which would otherwise arise when a person dies without a will (intestate).
If you die intestate, there are certain rules, known as the intestacy rules which dictate what will happen to your belongings when you die. This can be of particular concern for unmarried couples as legally there is no provision for them to inherit under the intestacy rules. Many people believe that partners who have lived together for an extended period of time have the same rights as a married couple; however, this is not the case. The intestacy rules may, therefore, direct your possessions or money to other relatives, leaving the surviving partner in serious financial difficulties.
If you are in the process of divorce or are separated from your partner, it is extremely important to prepare a will or ensure that your will is updated. If you are legally married then your ex-partner may still inherit under the rules of intestacy. A will is also extremely important for parents with children under the age of 18 as the will itself can include the appointment of a legal guardian as well as dealing with financial arrangements for the children should both parents die.
There are many other benefits when making a will such as reducing the amount of inheritance tax payable on death, protecting assets for vulnerable children or relatives and mitigating care fees. Without a will, there is a risk of family disputes or high inheritance tax bills and it is therefore important to prepare a will and review it every 3 to 5 years, or if your circumstances have changed. Examples of a change of circumstances could be marriage, as this could mean that your will is now invalid or inheritance from a family member which has increased the value of your estate.
You are able to prepare a will yourself; however, it is advisable to use a professional as a DIY Will may lead to complications during the probate process, this is because it is easy to make mistakes which may cause issues after your death. Dealing with claims or disputes after someone has passed away can cause significant distress but it may also result in considerable legal costs.
Melissa Hill, one of our Wills, Trust and Probate Paralegals says: “the death of a loved one leaves heartache no person can heal, especially in unexpected circumstances, it is therefore imperative to do what we can to protect those we leave behind”.
Melissa specialises in drafting Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Probate and has developed an excellent relationship with her clients providing a sympathetic, patient and professional approach. Melissa is based at our Buxton branch on Tuesdays and Thursdays but can be flexible to suit.
For more information on Wills or about our services, which include Lasting Powers of Attorney, Probate or Estate planning advice please get in touch with our Buxton branch on 01298 930111