To Make a Will or not to make a Will that is the Foolish Question by Sangeeta Moore | The Law House


To Make a Will or not to make a Will, that is the Foolish Question by Sangeeta Moore

By in All Blogs, Wills, Trusts & Probate Category on May 7th, 2014

We all have the right to leave everything we own to whoever we want upon our death.The only way to do this is to let our family know our wishes beforehand. This is usually done by making a Will. Your Will states how you want your possessions are to be dealt with and who should get them. A Will essentially gives you control over your assets after you are gone. It also allows you the opportunity to look at inheritance tax savings. More frequently Wills are drafted with the aim of preventing family disputes over the assets in your estate.

We all lead busy lives and making a Will is something which is not seen a priority. It is however, one of the most important actions you can perform in your lifetime. The significance of writing a Will becomes all too clear you consider the alternative to it- not making a Will. Then the Intestacy Rules, dictate who inherits your estate. Who gets what will depend on what you own and who survives you. These rules favour those who are married or in a civil partnership and other close relatives.

Cohabitation

The intestacy rules favour those in traditional relationships. They definitely are not suitable for modern family arrangements where two people in a relationship live together (cohabit) on a long-term or permanent basis without being married.The law in the UK does not provide any protection for cohabitees. Surviving partners who were not married or in a civil partnership, have no rights to inherit from their deceased partners’ estates. The only option available to you is to go to court, often at considerable cost, and persuade the judge to make provisions for you. Even then there is no guarantee of success. The decision is entirely at the discretion of the court. It is therefore crucial that if you are living together you make a Will ensuring that your partner is adequately provided for in the event of your death.

Divorce and Separation

Divorce and separation, two events which impact on people’s lives generally also have a significant effect on intestacy.Following a divorce or ending of a civil partnership, your ex-partner will not inherit from the estate and so the intestacy rules won’t apply. However, when a couple separates informally, they are still legally married and the surviving spouse or civil partner can inherit from the deceased spouse’s estate under the intestacy rules. If, despite being divorced, you want your ex-spouse to inherit under your estate the intestacy rules will prevent this from happening. Similarly, if you don’t want your spouse, from whom you have recently separated but not fully divorced, to inherit from your estate, the intestacy rules will bypass your wishes and the estate will pass on to your estranged spouse nonetheless.

The intestacy rules are complicated and do not always make adequate provisions for people whom you want to benefit. It is best to avoid them by making a valid Will.  If you want expert advice on intestacy and making a Will please contact me Sangeeta Moore on 07825 838 922 or smoore@thelawhouse.com