People can often feel intimidated by writing a will. It can make them uncomfortable, as it brings up the topic of death and potential issues. However, there are a lot of things that need to be discussed, and without a will, it can cause a lot of problems. It is worth knowing why it is important to have a will and how it is relatively simple to draw up one that can provide reassurance for you and your loved ones.
If you die without leaving a will, how your estate will be divided will vary depending on where you live. Generally speaking, any living relatives or spouses would inherit if you are married or in a civil partnership. If you are single and don’t have children, then your parents or guardians (if currently still leaving) would receive it.
In the event of not having any surviving parents, then your inheritance would be split between nieces and nephews on your father and mother’s side. With regard to unmarried couples, you need to specify in a will if you want your partner to inherit. If you don’t specify this, then your estate gets divided among surviving relatives.
Children do not immediately inherit when a parent dies. Trustees look after the funds until they are over the age of 18 or marry a partner before that time. Adopted and step-children can also inherit without a will, but generally speaking the inheritor has to be a blood relative.
Another aspect that should be clarified is who look after a child in the event of their parents/guardians dying. While it is not an easy thing to talk about, it is important, because if this is not specified, it can lead to court battles, and there is the risk that children may end up in foster care.
In the event that there are no relatives who can inherit, then the funds go to the Crown, a process known as bona vacantia. The Crown can provide funds as part of a grant; however, people need to apply for it in order to receive these funds.
Be more specific
There are other practical aspects that a will can be useful for. For example, you may have personal items that you want to be looked after when you are gone. Writing this into a will can help ensure that you pass these on to people who will appreciate those items.
It is also possible to write in payments to cover funeral costs, as this can often be something people can have problems with.
We can help
It is important to have a legally binding will. While you can do this yourself, it is strongly recommended you work with a legal specialist in order to cover the details and avoid any future problems.
At Larcomes, we are a family firm, so we understand how to go through this process in a way that is not only professional but also sensitive, as we realise this can be emotive for everyone involved. For more information or to discuss writing a will, please contact our legal specialists today.