Stephanie Scullion, solicitor in our leading Probate, Tax & Trusts team, highlights Dying Matters Week 2019 and explains the importance of making a will and ensuring that it remains up-to-date.
Dying Matters Week falls between 13 – 19 May 2019, led by the charity sharing the same name. The campaign asks ‘are we ready?’ and aims to encourage people to ensure that they think about and plan for the future.
A will is an important legal document that records how you want your appointed executors to deal with your estate upon your death.
Despite this, research by charity Will aid indicates that 53% of adults in the UK do not have a will, while a much higher proportion do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place.
A will is a vital document enabling you to plan for the future by protecting your assets for the next generation. For example, if you have children from a previous relationship or if you may need care in the future, incorporating a trust structure in your will can protect the capital for your children or grandchildren whilst also providing security for your spouse.
What is included in a will?
- the appointment of Executors responsible for administering the estate in accordance with your wishes
- any funeral wishes
- the appointment of guardians for any young children
- any specific gifts to friends, family or charities
- how the remainder of your estate should be distributed
What happens if there is no will in place?
Without a will your estate will be administered in accordance with the Intestacy Rules, which are often more complicated and the administration can be more expensive.
A will is particularly important for unmarried couples as the surviving partner will not automatically receive any benefit from an estate.
Likewise, step-children or friends do not have any legal entitlement to your estate.
The importance of an up-to-date will
You may already have a will in place but it is essential to keep it up to date, particularly when significant life events occur; for example:
- if you have any children and/or any arrangements made for them change over time
- upon divorce
- if an executor and/or beneficiary dies in your lifetime
- if there is a change to your financial position
For further information on making or updating a will, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0118 951 6800.
This article is intended for the use of clients and other interested parties. The information contained in it is believed to be correct at the date of publication, but it is necessarily of a brief and general nature and should not be relied upon as a substitute for specific professional advice.