Danielle Bedford ACILEx, ParaLegal at Blunts Solicitors answers the question posed in the title in relation to her own life experiences and discussions with friends and family.
Have you thought about what is going to happen to the things you own, your money, property etc after you have died? Chances are you have not.
Wills are the documents that most people associate with being elderly. To think about death is not a pleasant prospect, but it is a reality for all of us, not just the elderly.
Recent published statistics have identified that around 54% of adults do not have a will! This is an astonishing figure and I think this is mainly due to common misconceptions about what happens to the property we own upon death.
After having our first child and getting married, I mentioned the need for myself and my husband to make a will. He assumed that by us being married, that meant that all of his property and possessions would simply pass to me. I think he even questioned the necessity of a Will at all.
When a person dies without a will, their assets are distributed as per statutory legislation called intestacy rules. When you are married or form a civil partnership, it is correct that the majority of your spouse’s or civil partner’s estate would pass to you on their death, however a remaining amount is distributed in terms of your family line as defined within the rules. The distribution can become complicated when you are not married, and people who you may have wanted to provide for may not benefit because there is no written provision to say so.
A Will is an incredibly important document at any point in your adult life, it gives you the opportunity to state how you want your assets to be distributed and to whom you wish to benefit. This is much more of a necessity when you have bought a house, you own a business, or own another large asset or if you have a young family.
A Will not only deals with your property and assets, it also allows you to appoint a guardian to care for any of your children under the age of 18, should the worst happen to you before they reach that age. It also would ensure that any children under the age of 18 are provided for financially, giving you the tool to place any finances in trust until they reach 21.
When writing your Will, you can choose to draw up your Will yourself, without the assistance of a solicitor. However, you run the risk of your Will becoming invalid due to it being signed and witnessed incorrectly, and certain clauses could be unclear causing them to fail and therefore your wishes not being carried out as per your desired instruction.
It is advisable that it is always best to consider having a qualified and experienced firm of solicitors draw up your Will. Recent conversations within my friendship group revealed that most of my friends thought that drawing up their will was pretty straight forward as it would be, to quote, “dead simple”. However, questions about different scenarios and circumstances had not been considered. A solicitor will ask those questions and offer up solutions for different scenarios, thus producing a document that is clear, defined and most importantly valid.
As solicitors we are strictly regulated and as such you can be assured that the service provided offers you both protection and a high standard of service.
If you would like a quote for a Will please contact the team on 01625 429131