Ten reasons why you should make a Will

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It is important to consider making a Will when you are an unmarried couple or if you have separated from your Spouse or indeed have already divorced to ensure that your estate is disposed of properly and in accordance with your wishes following your death.

Those couples who have recently married should also consider making a Will.

  1. If you are separated from your Spouse, you may not want them to benefit from your estate following your death. Making a Will upon separation ensures that your estate is passed to those you wish to benefit such as your children. You may wish to have a “holding Will” while the divorce progresses and then review it once the financial settlement has been reached.
  2. If you are not married to your Partner, you must have a Will in order to provide for them on your death. Without a Will they will receive nothing from your estate.
  3. If you have divorced i.e. a Decree Absolute has been granted, and you have a current Will, any gift to your former spouse or any appointment of them as an Executor or trustee of your Will, will be ineffective. Your current Will will be interpreted on your death as if they had predeceased you, unless a contrary intention is clearly stated in the Will. If you have left everything to your former Spouse, with no alternative provisions, essentially that means you have died “intestate” i.e. it is treated as if you have not made a Will and the rules of intestacy will decide how your estate is to be divided.
  4. If you have children under 18, you may want to appoint Guardians to care for them in the event of your death, particularly if your ex-Spouse pre-decease you. Your Will can appoint Guardian(s) on your death to care for the child(ren) that you have chosen as the best person for the job. However, if a parent of the child(ren) survives, the surviving parent will normally continue to have responsibility for the child(ren).
  5. Upon separation from your Spouse you may have been advised to sever the joint tenancy in respect of the former matrimonial home. This means that the property is held on a 50/50 basis rather than as joint tenants.
  6. Your Will can specify to whom your half of the property should be left in the event of your death.
  7. You may have gifted an item or money from your estate to a member of your ex-Spouse’s family or appointed them as Executor, Trustee or Guardian. It may be that upon divorce you no longer want to leave them this gift or give them this role. A new Will will remove unwanted bequests and appointments and ensure that your treasured possessions are left to your loved ones and managed by people you trust.
  8. You may have a new partner following a breakdown of a marriage. You will want to ensure that your Partner is looked after in the event of your death and a Will will ensure that their future is protected.
  9. A Solicitor will be able to draft your Will to make the best use of Inheritance Tax allowances and reduce the possible impact of care fees in the future.
  10. It is always very important to make a Will, whatever your circumstances. If, in the event of your death, you have no Will, you will die “intestate” and your estate will then be divided in accordance with very strict intestacy rules. Your loved ones may not benefit from your estate as a result. If you have no surviving relatives and you die without a Will, your estate will pass to the Government. Making a Will ensures that your estate passes to those individuals or charities that you choose and not to benefit the Government.

Even when you are divorced (ie Decree Absolute has been granted) your ex-Spouse may have a claim against your estate. It is important to seek advice on this and have a properly drafted Will which can withstand such a claim and which appoints suitably robust Executors to deal with it.

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