It is a sad fact that the majority of UK adults do not have a will. If this is still the case when someone dies, they are said to die intestate, and their possessions will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy.
For some, this might not be too much of a problem, since these rules allow for children and married portions of the deceased’s estate. However, while the statutory rules often mean that some (but not all) loved ones are provided for, failing to make a will still means failing to make other important decisions. The opportunity to choose who administers the estate when someone passes away, or who will become the legal guardian of any minor children, is lost if you neglect to make a will.
Everyone, then, should have a will – but when should they make it? A change in circumstances can often be a good time to review this and ensure that this important document is up-to-date. Here are five life events that should prompt someone to create, or review, a will.
If a will is in place when someone marries, it is very likely that this will become automatically invalid when they say ‘I do’. A will cancelled this way is said to have been revoked, and, unless a new will is made or your old will contained wording to prevent this revocation by marriage, the assets will pass in accordance with the intestacy rules.
For people who wish for all of their estate to pass to their spouse or civil partner – or for those who wish to pass their estate to their children instead – the division of assets defined under these rules might not be acceptable.
Buying a house
For many, the family home is the most financially valuable asset in their estate – it can also have huge sentimental worth, too. Protecting the home’s value and ensuring that it passes to the right person is vital, so it’s worth creating a will whether someone is purchasing their dream home or getting started on the property ladder as a first-time buyer.
If they own their home together with someone else, or if they want their current spouse or civil partner to have the right to live in the home but the underlying value to pass to the children, it’s best to take legal advice.
A will not only allows someone to distribute the financial assets, it also allows them to stipulate who they would like to look after their children if they are under 18 when they pass away. Most parents prefer to know that the legal guardian of their children is someone they trust implicitly to care for them, and for this reason, it’s important to draw up a valid will.
While the intestacy rules make provision for married or civil partners, couples who are cohabiting without any such legal recognition are in danger of losing out. Because the law hasn’t kept up-to-date with modern family structures, an unmarried partner has no right to inherit anything at all when their partner dies. A will, however, allows someone to leave some, or all of their estate to their loved ones.
Until a divorce is final, they will still be viewed as married from the point of view of the intestacy rules, meaning that the spouse will inherit a large portion of your estate unless you a updated and therefore valid will in place.
Our back office support system that we have in place for our associate allows you to white- label these services, meaning that you can advise clients directly, instead of referring these out and our qualified legal team will hand draft these documents on your behalf, ultimately enabling you to spend time with your clients and focus on growing your business.
For more information on how you can offer this service directly to your clients, but without the burden of extensive administration please contact us.
Probate Services Director