To have or not to have… a Will?

A Will is a written document setting out a person’s wishes regarding what is to be done with their estate following their death. A Will not only contains details on how the estate should be distributed but also appoints executors (the people in charge of the estate and who oversee the distribution). In addition, a Will can provide funeral instructions or details of guardians for children under the age of 16.

Many married couples, civil partners and cohabitants believe that as they are in a committed relationship, their estate will go automatically to their loved one and on that understanding decide not to make a Will. This is unfortunately not the case, as in the event of death, without a will in place, the deceased’s estate is distributed in terms of the laws of intestacy and not the wishes of the deceased.

One of the main problems that arises when a person dies without a Will is that the family have to make an application to the local court to be appointed as executors and in most cases an insurance bond will be required to protect the estate. This process is complex and expensive.

Furthermore, the family will require to ascertain who is entitled to inherit from the estate and to what extent. Generally speaking, the lack of a Will can cause a lot of distress, upset and expense to the deceased’s family and friends.

The main benefits of having a Will are as follows:

  • You decide who will wind up your estate upon your death;
  • You decide who is to inherit and to what extent;
  • You can appoint guardians for your underage children;
  • You can protect vulnerable beneficiaries by setting up a trust in your Will;
  • You provide your funeral instructions;
  • You can protect your partner if you are unmarried/not in civil partnership;
  • You avoid family disputes following your death.

Having your will drafted by a solicitor ensures that it is properly drafted, signed and all requirements to ensure its’ validity are met.

‘To have or not to have … a Will?’

The answer is simple – it is vital to have a Will in place.

If you need advice on making a Will or wish to arrange confidential meeting, please contact Caritas Legal on 01383 431 101 or lornabrown@caritaslegal.co.uk.

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