When we meet a new client we’ll always ask if they’ve made a will. Unfortunately those who have are in the minority. Most don’t think about it and are unaware of what might happen if they die intestate (that’s the technical term for dying without a will, not a medical condition). So what would happen?
I’d recommend a quick read of the government help pages on the direct gov website (Link provided at the end of this blog) but just to cover off a few of the main points.
- Don’t assume that you’ll be entitled to all of your husband or wife’s estate (property, possessions, savings etc). You’ll be first in line but how much you’ll be entitled to will depend on the size of the estate and how many surviving blood relatives there are.
- If you aren’t married or in a civil partnership you will not have an automatic entitlement to some or all of their estate. Making a claim is a lengthy, complex and emotionally draining process at such a time.
- If both you and your partner/spouse were to be killed at the same time, for example in a car crash, and you have children, what would happen to them? They would not automatically be entitled to everything and who would look after them? There are more than likely some family members you’d prefer to be your child’s guardian than others! Who would you trust to look after your estate on their behalf until they reach adulthood?
A simple reciprocal will, i.e. I leave everything to my wife and she leaves everything to me, is better than nothing and can be made easily by yourself. Many will making kits are available. When I studied law I always remember a case where a man died, leaving his will written on an eggshell. However it is usually advisable to consider making a more tax efficient and comprehensive will by taking some financial and legal advice.
Dying without a will creates unnecessary stress and hassle for those you leave behind so I urge you to make writing a will a priority.
Link To Directgov
The Financial Services Authority does not regulate Will Writing.
By David Gibson
Independent Financial Investment Pension Savings Advice in Coleraine Ballymoney Portstewart Portrush Bushmills Co Antrim Co Londonderry