Many of us choose not to think about the reality of death and by doing so, often postpone planning issues that are so important in order to ensure the welfare of our family and loved ones in the event of death. Death is not only a personal issue, but a legal one as well. Anybody who owns property, and who cares about what happens to it on their death, should make a Will. The importance of doing so and of taking specialist advice were emphasised in the recent BBC television series “You Can’t Take It With You” fronted by businessman Sir Gerry Robinson. After review of the differing problems of a variety of families, the clear message from Sir Gerry was that he considered it “..vital to write a Will and to get it right because a lot of unnecessary hurt can be caused to those you love and care about if you don’t. If there are inequities, real or perceived, then at least you should be alive and able to explain them to those involved.”
If you don’t make a Will:-
the intestacy rules apply and your estate will be distributed as the law determines rather than in accordance with your wishes;
disputes may arise between members of your family as to how your estate is to be distributed and part of that estate may be used up in legal costs in resolving those disputes;
there may be more tax to pay from your estate;
a surviving unmarried partner will have no automatic claim to any part of your estate under the intestacy rules;
business partners may be left exposed putting the business at risk;
you may think that if you die before your spouse, without making a Will, all your property will automatically be left to him or her – this is not necessarily so.
If you want to ensure that your loved ones are protected and that your wishes are met after your death, a Will is a necessity.
Another recommendation made by the programme was to have a professional prepare your Will. Although you can draft your Will yourself, and blank forms are available on the internet and can be purchased on the high street, there are many pitfalls to preparing a Will without professional advice. Sorting out an ambiguous Will after your death can cause problems that need to be unravelled, is likely to be expensive and may increase the risk of a challenge or claim against your estate.
Please contact us for advice on preparing your Will.