Recent research suggests that as many as two-thirds of us in the UK don’t have a valid Will. It’s something that most people don’t consider seriously unless they’ve had a life-changing event such as being diagnosed with a serious health condition.
The truth is that none of us knows when we are going to die. Making sure that you have a Will in place, even if you’re relatively young and in full health, ensures that your estate is settled quickly and according to your wishes.
What Happens if You Die Intestate?
If you pass away and don’t leave a will, you are said to have died intestate. When this happens, your entire estate including things like property and personal possessions will be distributed according to current intestacy law. This is okay if you have a traditional family structure. More and more families nowadays, however, don’t always conform as they did say 50 years ago.
The biggest problem here is if you are living with someone but are not married nor in a civil partnership. If you were married, then part of your estate would go automatically to your spouse. If you aren’t married and have children, then your estate would go to the children rather than your spouse. If you have no children then the next in line to benefit from your estate would be, in order of priority: parents, your siblings, grandparents and then uncles and aunts.
If you have no dependents, it makes sense to make a Will and establish your wishes if you do not want your estate to go to distant relatives. If you have a large estate, dying intestate can also have ramifications for how much inheritance tax is paid.
Making It Easier for Your Family
Even if the current intestacy rules match what you want to do with your estate already, not leaving a Will can cause delays and extra financial outlay for your loved ones.
Put simply, leaving a Will makes it much easier for your family to settle your estate once you have passed away. What’s more, you can be completely confident that your assets go to the people that you want them to.
Reducing Inheritance Tax
Inheritance tax and how much you pay depends on the financial value of what you are leaving behind and who you are giving it to. If you are leaving your estate to your spouse, for example, they are exempt from paying tax but if you are leaving your estate to your children, there may be an inheritance tax liability on your estate.
Making Special Provisions
Making a Will allows you to leave specific assets to certain people. While you may want to hand over your property and other major assets to your spouse or children, you can also stipulate specific gifts for people who have meant a lot to you. That could include, for example, leaving a favourite piece of jewellery or a treasured possession to a close friend.
You can also use your Will to make your wishes about your funeral clear to the executors, leave money to charity or an organisation such as a community project or local sports club, and decide who you want to settle your affairs.
You should think about making a valid Will, whatever your age or marital status. It not only means your estate is settled according to your wishes but will also give you complete peace of mind.
MGF Wills & Estate Planning can help you put together a valid, legally binding Will, guiding you through the entire process from start to finish, ensuring that your loved ones are taken care of once you pass away.
Contact us today to find out more.
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