Why do I need to get a will?
Without a will you will be intestate which means that your wishes regarding the disposal of your estate will not be taken into account. Not having a will in place could mean that someone you don’t like or barely know has a claim to your money and belongings.
But my wife or husband will get everything so there’s no point.
Do NOT assume that just because you are married your spouse will inherit everything if you die without making a will. The current rules mean that your spouse will receive your belongings and get the first £250,000.00 and a lifetime interest in half of the balance of your estate. On his or her death the rest will go to your children (if you have any) or to other relatives.
I don’t own anything so there’s no point, my children know they won’t be getting anything.
If you have children under the age of 18 you need to make a will to ensure that the person you would like to look after them if you should die is named in your will. Without this your children could be taken into care and the courts may decide on where they should live and who should be their guardian.
What happens if I’m living with someone but not married to them?
If you are not married or in a Civil Partnership your live in partner could encounter many problems if you were to die without leaving a will. Unless you own your home jointly they may find themselves homeless at a time of great stress. They could also find that they are not entitled to anything that may be in your name even if they have contributed financially to that.
It is too expensive to sort this out now.
By not sorting out your affairs the cost to your estate and to your loved ones could be very great indeed, not just financially but emotionally too. Probate (which is granted if there IS a will in place) can take several months. Obtaining letters of Administration (if there is no will in place) can take a great deal longer. A simple will should only cost an individual about £150.
What happens if I make a will and then get married?
Unless the will has been made “in anticipation of marriage” it will be invalid and a new will should be made.
What should I include in my will?
Before instructing a will writer you should make a list of everything of value that you own. This should include property, savings & investments and items of value, such as jewelry or paintings. You will need to decide who to appoint as executors (these are the people who will carry out the wishes expressed in your will) who will be your beneficiaries ( the people who will inherit your belongings and estate) and who will be guardians ( if you have children under the age of 18).
Don’t worry if you don’t include everything as it’s a good idea to leave a letter of wishes with your will. This will tell your executors what you want done with smaller items such as the dinner service you inherited from your aunt or the mountain bike that was your pride and joy.
I want to be buried in the local churchyard when I die. Should I put that in my will?
Most will writers will ask what your wishes are, either burial or cremation and can add these details to your will. However, many wills are not found until after the funeral so it’s a good idea to make your wishes known to your family before you die.