A 2017 nation-wide research has shown that the number of people in the UK who do not have a will has reached a new high of 31 million, surpassing the previous peak of 2011. This makes up about 60% of the population, a percentage closely mirrored across the pond in the U.S. Residents in these two countries also share the same reasons for this state of affairs: they will either do it later, or they do not think they have enough assets for it to be worth the effort. However, a will offers protection to your family in many ways and it benefits people from all economic backgrounds, as Romaine Coleman will and probate solicitors show you.
If you are in a relationship without the benefit of marriage or registered civil partnership, your partner will not be entitled to inherit your assets. You may also worry about the welfare of your young children in the event that you and your spouse pass away suddenly. A will lets you designate beneficiaries to your assets so that their welfare is taken care of.
Having a will also means you can appoint a legal guardian of your choice to look after your minor children or other dependents. In addition, you can stipulate the terms of their inheritance, for example at what age your children can access their inheritance, or that the family home is not sold until they reach adulthood.
There may be tax benefits when you structure your will in a tax-efficient way. At present, Inheritance Tax applies if the value of your estate is above £325,000. However, if you pass your home to your spouse, there is no Inheritance Tax to pay, and if you leave your home to your children (including adopted, foster or stepchildren) or grandchildren, the tax-free threshold increases to £450,000 provided the total value of your estate is less than £2 million.
By making a will you can make sure that your wishes are carried out after you are gone. You can specify exactly who receives which of your assets. With no explicit instructions in place, your assets will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy. People who you wanted to inherit from your estate may not be able to, and vice versa.
Administering an estate without a will can be time-consuming and stressful, and the outcome may be extremely unfavourable for some beneficiaries. The simple process of making a will means that disputes are minimised and your family is protected.
If you want to find out more about writing a will, speak to Romaine Coleman’s experienced wills and probate team on 0208 520 4555 today and we’ll be happy to help you.
If you prefer to get in touch online, you can complete our Free Online Enquiry and we’ll be in touch soon.
For more information about wills and probate, visit:
This post is not legal advice and should not replace professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances. It is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.