Did you know there can be costly fees for your loved ones if you die without a valid Will? While death isn’t something we like to think about, we know that it is a natural part of life and can happen at any moment. We cannot anticipate our end, but we can gain control by planning for it.
If you don’t have a valid Will in place, your money, property and possessions will be shared out according to the law instead of your wishes. We know that while most people acknowledge the importance of having a Will, about 60% of us do not have a plan in place. This can mean that what you leave behind can pass to someone you hadn’t intended or that some loved ones end up with nothing.
Four Common Misconceptions about Wills
There are many misconceptions about having or not having a Will; four of the most common are:
“I don’t need a Will. My partner will inherit everything automatically.”
Did you know that the surviving partner does not automatically inherit the other person’s share of estate? When a person dies without leaving a valid Will, their property (the estate) is shared out among Married or civil partners and some close relatives according to the rules of intestacy. Having a Will status of intestate means that you have no say whatsoever in how your estate is distributed and who receives it.
So, unless you have a legally valid Will, the rules of intestacy will apply to you and that will decide how the estate will be shared out
“I have a Will so probate will not be needed.”
You normally need to go through probate unless your estate is very small/exempt. Any solely owned land, property, shares or money requires Probate or Letters of Administration so that the personal representative can pass on your estate according to the Will.
If you do not have Probate in place when it is needed, your beneficiaries will not be able to receive their inheritance. Instead your assets will be frozen and held in limbo. This means that no one will have the legal authority to access, sell or transfer your assets.
Having a Will with Probate makes the process easier and cheaper!
“I made a Will already so I’m ok.”
While Wills don’t expire, they don’t improve with age! An outdated Will means it may not contain the relevant information that reflects your current wishes. You may have a different house, different bank accounts, and maybe even a different spouse and more children.
Your Will should be reviewed every 3-5 years for changes in circumstances and objectives. Not only does this give you the chance to ensure it still reflects your wishes, but also to align it with changes to the law. For example, recent amendments to inheritance tax and property laws means there could be large tax bills to pay.
“I made a Will before I married so I don’t need to do anything.”
Not everyone knows that, under marriage laws in England and Wales, any pre-existing Will is revoked when you enter into a legally binding marriage contract. This means that if you die without making a new Will after you get married, the law of intestacy will determine how your assets are divided and who should inherit from you.
Usually, your entire estate would go to your wife, husband or civil partner. If you have other family members that you wish to include in your inheritance, getting your Will updated is a priority.
Book Your Free Will Review
If you want to make sure your Will is up to date and reflects your wishes, book a free Will review with us today.
From our Cambridge office, in your own home or online, we’re ready to help you in the way that is best for you.