There are many valid reasons for writing a Will. For starters, you can choose who inherits your possessions, money and other property too. If you die without a Will, the Government will intervene and distribute everything according to their own strict regulations, which could result in those closest to you to miss out on your estate.
A good reason for making a Will is for the benefit of your partner. If you were to die without leaving a Will, your unmarried partner could receive nothing at all. Your children could also suffer if you don’t leave a will. By choosing a legal guardian to take responsibility for raising your children in the event of your death, you could secure their future. The guardians can be appointed via a Will, however make sure to notify the people involved and get their consent. If no guardian is appointed, then the children will be taken under the care of surviving relatives. Be warned that they may not be the people that you would choose yourself.
Another good reason for a Will, is the possible tax saving that your beneficiaries can enjoy. By leaving a Will, you ensure that everyone knows exactly how much they are due and the tax collector does not take more than required by law.
What if I don’t leave a Will?
By not leaving a Will, you could potentially put your family in a difficult financial situation which could take a long time to resolve, long past your death.
Deaths that occur without a valid Will are considered to be intestate. In such a situation, your estate would be distributed according to laws of intestacy. The main purpose of this law is to protect your immediate family i.e. your spouse and children. Bear in mind that if you are not married or registered with your partner and if the children are not biologically yours, they are not legally recognised and will not be taken into account according to the rules of intestacy. In simple terms, dying without a Will could result in your possessions being distributed in a way that you may not intend or want.
In theory, the rules of intestacy ascertain that all of your movable property may be sold by your personal representative in order to convert your entire estate into cash value, which can then be easily distributed. In practice, most of your possessions may well be distributed as they are, in accordance to certain rules.
Any personal chattels (i.e. personal property such as furniture, cars, antiques) are to be handed to your spouse. If the entire estate’s value is £125,000 or less, then the surviving spouse can inherit the entire estate regardless if there are children or not.
If there are children, then the spouse gets £125,000 as well as any household contents and personal chattels of the deceased. Anything that remains is then split into two parts of equal value: one half goes to the children, while the other half is put into a trust. All income generated from this trust goes to the surviving spouse, however in the case of the spouse’s death, the trust moves entirely into the possession of the surviving children.
There are even more strict intestacy rules for cases where the deceased was single and/or had no children. For example, if you’re single and have no children, then your estate will go to your nearest surviving relative. In cases, where there are no living relatives, the entire estate goes to the Government.