25 May 2017

When do you need to consider making a will?


Many people do not realise that there is law in place, known as the intestacy rules, that pre-determines how your estate is divided if you pass away without a will. We always recommended that you speak to a professional who can advise you about the application of these rules and whether you need to have a will to protect your wishes.


Many people mistakenly believe that the frequently used term “common-law spouse” has legal recognition when it comes to the law of intestacy. A common-law spouse is a term used to describe a couple who live together as though they are married but their relationship has not got the legal status of marriage. Unmarried partners and partners and who do not have a registered civil partnership cannot inherit from each other under the intestacy rules. If you are an unmarried partner and you want your partner to inherit your estate if you pass away, you must make a will.


If you have minor children, it is important that you have a will to appoint a legal guardian to look after your children in the event that you pass away while they are still minors. If you have step-children, unless you make a will, your step-children will not inherit from your estate.


Whilst we believe that it is important to have a will in any event, there are certain occasions where we believe it is imperative that you review your will needs:


1. marriage/civil partnership;

2. divorce;

3. if you obtain an expensive asset such as a new house;and

4. before you travel abroad.


Any current will you have will be automatically revoked on marriage/civil partnership unless the will satisfies certain rules and was made in contemplation of that event. Divorce is not an event which revokes your will.


There are also helpful inheritance tax planning mechanisms which can be employed by making a will. If your estate is worth more than the nil rate band available at the date of your death, anything above the nil rate band will usually be taxed at 40%.


We also understand that speaking about your funeral wishes with your loved ones can often be a difficult and upsetting topic. Another advantage of having a will is that you can express your funeral wishes in the will. A will is often the first document that loved ones will look for when a family member passes away.


If you require any advice about making a will, we offer a free 30 minute consultation.