Too few of us have a Will in place. Making a Will is one of those things we all mean to get around to doing.
A Will makes it easier and clearer for your loved ones to sort your affairs once you have gone. It will allow you to name your chosen Executors to handle your assets, or Guardians to care for your children, you may set out specific gifts to certain people, state your funeral wishes, establish Trusts to protect your assets for future generations or for dependants who may not be able to care for themselves.
Making a Will is particularly important for unmarried couples, as without one their assets would instead pass to their nearest relatives, rather than to each other. Many people do not realise that the law does NOT grant unmarried couples, step children, or other relatives you may class as your ‘next of kin’ the same rights as married couples (or children if unmarried).
Keeping your Will up to date can be just as important as needing to make one for the first time. This is because a change in your marital status or personal circumstances can have a direct impact on the validity of your Will, for instance:
- Marriage – this will automatically invalidate any Will you have signed prior to your wedding unless written specifically with your marriage in mind.
- Divorce – It will invalidate the provisions in your Will for your ex-spouse only once you have the decree absolute.
- Co-habiting – If you live with your partner, or have purchased property together, you might want to look at safeguarding your respective shares for your family without hampering your partner’s ability to live in the property after you’ve gone. A similar scenario may be that you live with your partner but the property is owned in one person’s name. In the same way as mentioned above the owner can make special provisions in their Will to pass the property to their family whilst guaranteeing their partner’s ability to live there after they have gone.
- Family bereavement – would this mean that your assets now pass down the bloodline of the person who passed before you or elsewhere? What would you like to happen to their share now? Were they an Executor of Guardian, therefore do you need to appoint someone else instead?
- Having children – You may have recently had children or adopted, therefore it’s now time to consider who would care for them if anything happened to you before they turned 18, furthermore, who would oversee and look after their inheritance until they are 18 or older? These are all things to put in your Will for your children’s best interests, so you have the say now.
- Estranged relatives – do you have a relative that you are estranged from and whom may benefit from your estate, but you do not wish for that to happen?
Have that conversation now and get a Will in place, otherwise the state will direct who inherits your assets, not you. If you already have a Will in place then review it every few years and make sure its in-line with your current wishes.
If you would like to book a free no obligation consultation appointment to discuss Wills, Estate planning or Asset Protection then get in touch with one of our offices today or email us at [email protected]