The simple answer to this question is “Yes” but invariably more often than not the answer is likely to be “I haven’t yet, but I will do when the time is right”.
So when is the right time? Trusts and Estates Practitioner, Martine Swaep of Greene & Greene talks about the benefits of making a Will.
Although thinking, talking and planning for death can make you feel uncomfortable, making a Will is one of the most important things to do if you want to be sure that your wishes will be met after you die.
If you die without leaving a Will your assets become subject to the “laws of intestacy”; unforgiving and inflexible rules meaning that your house, savings and other possessions will be distributed under fixed rules as laid down by the law. This will depend on how you own your assets, in your sole name or jointly. You will also have no say in who administers your estate. These rules may not be in accordance with your wishes, the needs of individuals or family situation, especially if you are unmarried and living with a partner. Equally, if you are married or in a civil partnership, it is a common misconception that everything will pass to your spouse or civil partner when you die. This is not always the case when there is no Will. Your relatives will not only have to cope with your death but also with the uncertainties and injustices of seeing your assets sent where you would not want them to go and decisions being made for you by others. A bad situation is made very much worse, and in some cases the family is left having to pay Inheritance Tax that could have been avoided with some simple planning.
A Will can help to avoid these issues and is the only way to make sure your savings and possessions (your estate) go to the people and causes that you care about.
Whilst it is not difficult to make a Will, it does have to be done properly, to avoid costly arguments after your death.
Here are some questions about making a Will. If you answer “yes” to any of the questions and do not currently have a Will, you need to be taking some action:
- Do you wish to ensure that your estate is inherited by the people you choose?
- Do you wish your spouse/civil partner or unmarried partner to inherit your entire estate?
- Do you wish to appoint guardians for your young children?
- Do you wish to set up a trust?
- Do you wish to pass on your business or farm to people you choose?
- Do you wish to choose the people (executors) who will be responsible for winding up all your affairs and implementing your wishes?
- Do you wish to leave a legacy to a friend or charity?
If you have already made a Will you should also ensure that you review it every few years, or as your family circumstances change.
At Greene & Greene Solicitors instructions for Wills are taken by experienced lawyers who know exactly what questions to ask. They will advise you on how best to achieve your intentions without undue complexity or uncertainty, delivering workable solutions in a sympathetic and professional manner.
For more information on Wills please contact Martine Swaep in the Private Client Department firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01284 717458 (Direct). For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.
This article was first pubsihed in the July edition of bury & West Suffolk Magazine.