“Where there’s a will, there’s a way…”
Indeed there is. A will, quite simply, gives you a way to have control over all your assets once you die. Where there is no will, there is no way, other than as set out in legislation. In other words, you have no control as to what happens to your assets once you die should you have failed to make a valid will in your lifetime.
Why should I make a will?
There are a number of reasons for making a will, but the main reason is that it gives you complete control of what happens to your assets on the event of your death. It can ensure proper arrangements are made for your loved ones and dependents. It can also minimise expenses, taxes and family friction. On consultation with your solicitor, and with your tax advisor for larger estates, you can make your will in the most tax efficient way possible. It safeguards the future of those you care about and will give you peace of mind that all your affairs are in order. If you have children, it can also provide for legal guardianship and the appointment of trustees in the event of your premature and unexpected departure.
What happens if I die without making a will or my will is invalid?
If you die without having made a will, or your will is invalid, your property is strictly dispersed according to the law on intestacy. You fail to retain any control over who is entitled to your assets, who has care of your children or runs your business or farm. People, other than your direct family, will not receive anything and members of your family may not receive what you would have wanted them to. It can lead to a number of people owning one asset, for example a farm or business where disputes can arise and the asset has to be sold.
If you die without making a will, or a will you make yourself is declared invalid, the following scenarios will apply to your Estate assets after all your debts, testamentary and funeral expenses are paid:-
If you are married (or civil partnership) with no children, then your spouse or civil partner takes all
If you are married with children, your spouse takes two thirds and the children take one third between them
If you are married with some children living and with some grandchildren (children of a deceased child) then your spouse takes two thirds with the children take one third between them (with grandchildren taking their deceased’s parents share)
If you are single with no children and both of your parents are alive then they take all in two equal share
If you are single with no children and only one parent left alive then that remaining parent takes all
If you are single with no parents and no children, but all your brothers and sisters are still alive then those brothers and sisters take all between them in equal shares
If you are single with no parents, no children but with some brothers and sisters alive but also where some brothers and sisters have died but leaving children, then your surviving brothers and sisters take equal shares between them with the nephews and nieces taking their deceased parents share
If you leave none of the above surviving, your Estate is then divided equally between those closest related to you
Finally, if you die with no relatives surviving (or relatives that cannot be ascertained or traced), your Estate goes to the State
The above rules are very strict, and therefore dying without making a will (dying “intestate”) means your Estate is divided according to the above eventualities. So if you wanted to leave specific items or money to persons who are not related to you, or to a charity, it would not be possible unless you made a valid will. So call us today to inquire about making or updating your will and take control of the situation, your family will thank you for it.