January 18, 2017
It’s a common saying, however relying on your will can cause issues not just for yourself but also for the loved ones that you leave behind.
Firstly, we’d always recommend that you get your will reviewed to check that it has been drafted correctly and that it still reflects your wishes. While it is better to have something in place than nothing at all, using wills bought ‘off the shelf’ or ones that may have been drafted using an ancient template could cause your will to be deemed invalid. If you have made no will at all (aka dying ‘intestate’) or have a completely invalid will then the law will take over and dictate how your estate will be distributed.
This is an extremely important point when considering unmarried couples, especially as people are often having to try and get on the property ladder as soon as they can using a combined income but haven’t married. So, what would happen to a young unmarried couple if one partner passed away? As the law currently stands, if they had no children together then the deceased’s parents would inherit their estate and their share of the house. What protection is then in place for their partner to allow them to stay in the house? If the deceased had been in charge of paying the bills, how is their partner going to pay them? There are many more questions along these lines that need to be addressed.
Similarly, a will is the only place in your legacy planning where you can appoint guardians for your children. If you haven’t done this in a will then it will be down to the courts to decide who has custody over your children. This is another extremely important point about not just making ANY will but making a VALID will.
Did you know that foreign wills can sometimes interfere with ones written in England if they haven’t been drafted properly? Those buying property abroad will often be advised to draft a will to cover their new foreign assets in case of any contrasting laws… however the first clause of any wills is used to revoke any other pre-existing wills. This could mean a Spanish will, drafted purely to cover the Spanish property, could revoke an existing British will that covers the rest of your assets. As the Spanish will would only be distributing a fraction of your assets you could be deemed to have died partially intestate.
This is why during our free legacy planning reviews we make sure we ask you in-depth questions to get a full understanding of what you have, what is important to you and what you would need to put in place to achieve that. If you would like to discuss your will or any other aspect of legacy planning please feel free to contact me for a free no obligation appointment.
Felicity Malpass – Barrister Intermediary
Tel: 01530 416555