|Title||The Importance of Making a Will||
|Author||Lynnette Hilliard at Awdry Bailey and Douglas|
|Date||October 23, 2009|
Your will is one of the most important documents you will ever sign. If you want to ensure that the right people will receive your hard-earned money and possessions when you die then you must make a will.
Some frequently asked questions
What happens if I do not make a will?
If you die without making a will, the law dictates who inherits your property. Not all of your property will necessarily go to your spouse, your civil partner or your children.
If you are not survived by your spouse, civil partner or children, then your property will go to your parents, your brothers and sisters or your aunts and uncles.
Unmarried partners (other than civil partners) will not automatically receive anything, regardless of how long they have been together. There is no such thing as a common law spouse.
Without a will, you cannot benefit friends, charities, godchildren or your local church. And, your will can also include provisions to ensure that as much of your property as possible passes to your family so that it is not available to a local authority should your surviving spouse or civil partner need residential or nursing home care after your death.
But I don’t need to worry about making a will until I get old?
Wills are not age-related. No one can predict the future. Death can occur as a result of an accident or ill-health and not just through old age.
I don’t own anything so what’s the point of making a will?
You may be worth more than you think: just add up the value of your house (after the mortgage has been paid off), life insurance policies, savings, your car and other possessions. You may be surprised how much you would be worth on your death. Inheritance Tax is currently levied at 40 per cent on all assets over £325,000. A properly prepared will can reduce the tax bill which would otherwise by payable on your death.
But even if you only have some money in a bank account or in the Post Office, make sure that everything will go to the people you want to benefit and not those dictated by the law.
You can also set out in your will who you would like to sort out your affairs after you have died (so that it is not the person dictated by law) and who you would like to appoint as guardians of your children.
What if I change my mind later?
A will comes into effect after your death and you can change your will as often as you like.
Do I have to use a Solicitor to make a will?
A will does not have to be prepared by a solicitor but the temptation to economise by making your own will should be avoided. Family disputes over home-made wills are on the increase and they are expensive to resolve.
A will prepared by a solicitor is not as expensive as you think. Costs vary, but a well-prepared will represents a very small investment for a considerable peace of mind.
Contact: Lynnette Hilliard at Awdry Bailey and Douglas at Wootton Bassett on 01793 856364
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