The number of people who don’t have a will has risen to an all-time high with an estimated 60 per cent of the population running the risk of dying ‘intestate’.
If you are one of them, it means that your assets, which might include a house, savings and other property, will be distributed as per the law and not necessarily how you would like.
So why don’t more people make a will? Carina Kervin, a solicitor in our Wills, Probate and Lifetime Planning team, discusses some common misconceptions that might be preventing you from drawing up this important document:
With an increasing number of people cohabiting, marrying more than once and creating blended step families, it has never been more important to have a will.
Many people, wrongly, assume that if someone dies without a will, everything goes to their spouse. This isn’t necessarily right - it depends on how your assets are owned, the size of your estate and what other family members there are such as children. The intestacy rules dictate who gets what so to ensure your assets will definitely pass to your spouse and or children, you need a will.
If you have stepchildren you would like to benefit or a partner you’re not married to, it’s vital you make a will. They would have no automatic claim on your estate if you don’t stipulate that in an official document.
One of the most common misconceptions we hear about – with sometimes devastating consequences – is that divorce revokes a will. Marriage revokes a will but divorce doesn’t.
When a divorce is final, for inheritance purposes, the divorced spouse is treated as having died but in all other respects, the will is valid. This can cause complications if you haven’t stipulated who should inherit what if your spouse ‘dies’ and the rules of intestacy could apply. If you divorce or remarry, you should always redraft your will.
One reason that some people might put off making a will is the perceived expense. Using a professional solicitor doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Specialists cut through the red tape and jargon and ensure your wishes will be carried out to the letter.
Carina deals with a broad range of matters including wills, powers of attorney, care fees, tax planning and probate. She is a member of Solicitors for the Elderly. To discuss your estate planning or will, contact Carina on the details below.