Reasons to Consider Having a Will

Bereavement is a really difficult time for any family, and if the deceased did not have a will, it only makes things harder. Without a will your estate will be left according to the rules of intestacy. These general rules may not give the best result for your individual family circumstances. For example, if you are married or in a civil partnership, depending on the size of your estate and how assets are owned, your spouse or civil partner may not automatically inherit all of your assets.
 
A will is not just for the wealthy, and there are five categories of people who really should consider having a will.

  1. Unmarried couples – your partner (and any step-children) will not automatically be entitled to a share of your estate under intestacy
  2. Recently married – marriage generally invalidates any earlier will
  3. Recently divorced – lots of changes to family circumstances
  4. Parents – if young children inherit under intestacy they will receive assets at a much younger age than you may want. The will is also a good place to appoint a guardian if the worst happened
  5. Old will – if your will is very old then it won’t take account of changes to legislation or your family. Does your will include all your children/grandchildren – or just the eldest ones? A will should be reviewed every five years and more frequently if circumstances change.

 
Finally a well written will is a key part of Inheritance Tax planning to protect your family from the tax man.
 
While you can write your own, it’s much better to use a solicitor. A badly written will can be worse than no will at all. Where you have business assets or need Inheritance Tax planning then your accountant should also be involved. They will work with your solicitor to draw up a tax efficient will. Look for professionals with the STEP qualification – the gold standard for those in the field of trusts and estates.
 
For more information on wills contact Helen Thornley, Tax Consultant on 01539 942030 or email helen.thornley@armstrongwatson.co.uk
 

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