Stephanie Scullion, solicitor in our leading Probate, Tax & Trusts team, explains the importance of making a will and the reasons to review and update your existing will over time.
Research by a leading comparison site in 2018 suggested that 60% of people in the UK do not have a will.
Why a will is important
A will is a legal document that comes into effect when you die and records how you want your executors to deal with your estate.
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 your will should deal with
- the appointment of executors who are then responsible for administering the estate in accordance with your wishes
- any funeral wishes
- the appointment of guardians for any young children
- any specific gifts, whether to friends, family or charities
- how the remainder of the estate should be distributed.
What happens without a will?
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 your estate.
Likewise, step-children or friends do not have any legal entitlement to your estate.
Updating your 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
Our team is ranked in the top tier in both of the UK's leading guides to law firms, Chambers HNW and The Legal 500.
For further information on making or updating a will, please contact email@example.com 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.