Do I Need To Make A Will? - The Law House Family Law Solicitors, London & Peterborough

Do I Need To Make A Will?


Making a will allows you to plan for what should happen to your assets after your death. By planning in advance, you can establish who you wish to benefit from your estate when you die, minimise any inheritance tax payable and reduce the risk of a dispute. Making a will also gives you the opportunity to express your wishes for your funeral arrangements or medical treatment should you become incapable of making those decisions.

If you die without making a Will

If you die without having made a will, your assets are automatically distributed according to the rules of intestacy. The distribution depends on whether you are married (or in a registered civil partnership) and whether you have any children. This may well have undesired consequences:

•  Your spouse (or civil partner) does not necessarily receive all of your assets. He or she is only entitled to your personal possessions (eg furniture, cars etc) and the first £250,000 of your other assets plus half of the rest.
•  If you own your home in your sole name, or as tenants in common (rather than as joint owners), then your share of the house is included in your estate rather than automatically passing to your spouse. In the worst case, he or she might be forced to move out of the family home.
•  If you were in a relationship but not married (nor in a registered civil partnership), your partner may not be entitled to any of your assets at all.
•  Part of your estate may be shared out among your children, or other relatives if you have no children – regardless of their financial need or whether you would have wanted to give them anything.
•  Other individuals (eg friends) and organisations (eg charities you support) will not receive anything even if you would have liked them to.
•  The inheritance tax payable on your estate may be higher than it could have been had you made plans.
•  There may be further problems if your personal and financial circumstances are complicated: for example, if you are paying maintenance to a former spouse, have assets tied up in the family business, or own assets overseas (eg a holiday home).Making a will allows you to plan for what should happen to your assets after your death. By planning in advance, you can establish who you wish to benefit from your estate when you die, minimise any inheritance tax payable and reduce the risk of a dispute. Making a will also gives you the opportunity to express your wishes for your funeral arrangements or medical treatment should you become incapable of making those decisions
•  The inheritance tax payable on your estate may be higher than it could have been had you made plans.