If you die without a Will then your Estate will usually be distributed according to the Intestacy Rules and these rules may well not be what you would have wanted. Contesting these rules in Court will often result in lengthy and costly legal battles for your family and beneficiaries.
If you are married or in a civil partnership, do not assume that your spouse or partner will automatically get everything when you die. Under the Intestacy Rules your children could have a legal right to inherit a large portion of your estate.
Where a Will was made before marriage, the act of marriage or civil partnership could have revoked the will unless stated specifically that it was still to stand.
An unmarried person does not have the same rights as a married person and is can easily receive nothing if their partner dies intestate, regardless of how long they have lived together or whether they have children.
By making a Will you can:
- Appoint Executors of your choice, so that someone you trust will make sure that your beneficiaries receive all that you intended them to.
- Appoint Guardians, to ensure that someone you have chosen will look after your minor children in the event of your death, rather than the Court of Protection and Social Services making this decision on your behalf.
- Avoid “sideways disinheritance” – if a surviving spouse or partner remarries after your death, your entire estate could go to another family, leaving your own family with nothing. A Protective Property Trust in a Will will mean that your ultimate beneficiaries will inherit your share of the property regardless of what may happen in the future and without disadvantaging your surviving spouse or partner.
- Protect your estate from problem beneficiaries where issues such as bankruptcy, spendthrifts, drug/alcohol dependency or a gambling addiction etc could be relevant.
- Ensure that any valued or sentimental items go to the people that you want by stating the beneficiaries of each item.
- Leave monetary legacies to the special people in your life.
- Ensure that your pets are cared for after your death and arrange carers and financial provision for their continued welfare.
- If organ donation upon your death is something that you would like to do, you can elect to donate the organs or your body for transplant/therapeutic purposes or for all medical research purposes.
- Specify your funeral arrangements, so that your family and executors are aware of your preferences in regards to cremation or burial, religious or non-religious services, music, flowers, hymns etc.
- Leave charitable donations as a legacy.
- Arrange Trusts for minors and disabled persons, ensuring that funds will be available in addition to benefit entitlements.