Why you should make a will... and what could happen if you don't

Surveys consistently show that only four out of ten people in the UK have made a will, despite the problems and heartache that could cause for their loved ones. Even the Covid pandemic didn’t inspire people to put their affairs in order. There was barely a 1% increase in the number of wills drawn up. 

Making a will is the only way you can ensure that your estate is passed on in the way you want after your death. It also helps prevent all sorts of problems that could arise if you die intestate; that is, without having made a will. A will is a legal document that outlines your wishes regarding the distribution of your estate. It allows you to determine who will inherit your assets, such as property, finances, and personal belongings. Creating a will also enables you to make provisions for your family and causes that you support. You can designate guardians for minor children, establish trusts to protect assets for beneficiaries, and make specific bequests to individuals or charitable organisations. This ensures that your loved ones are provided for and that your personal beliefs and values are respected even after you are gone. 

If you die without having made a will, the distribution of your estate will be governed by the rules of intestacy set out in English law. The rules determine who will inherit your assets based on a predetermined order of priority. This may not align with your personal wishes or the needs of your loved ones. For example, if you have separated from your partner but not divorced, they may be able to claim all or a large share of your estate. Their claim may prove stronger than that of your current partner, who could end up with nothing. Without a will, disputes and disagreements may arise among family members, potentially leading to costly legal battles and strained relationships. Additionally, the intestacy rules may not account for the needs of unmarried partners, stepchildren, or close friends who you may have wanted to include. 

Creating a will ensures that you have control over the distribution of your assets and provides clarity to your loved ones during a difficult time. It helps alleviate the stress and uncertainty that can arise when there is no clear guidance on how to handle your estate. Drawing up a will with the help of your solicitor doesn’t take long but it gives you the peace of mind of knowing that the people you care about will be provided for and your estate will be passed on exactly in accordance with your wishes.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of Wills on 020 8290 0333 or email info@judge-priestley.co.uk

For further information on our Wills services, click here.

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