If you do not make a Will, then the law says you have died ‘intestate’. This means that despite any wishes you may have expressed in your lifetime, fixed rules of intestacy will apply, dividing your estate between particular people who inherit particular shares. The results of this can include:
- Your estate does not all pass to your husband, wife or civil partner
- No-one has the right to start sorting out your estate, until they have permission from the probate court
- Some family members you may not be close to, will inherit from you
- Step children receive nothing
- Children receive their shares when they are 18, when you may prefer to delay this
- If you are in a relationship but not married or in a civil partnership, your partner receives nothing, and has to make an expensive court application to try to change this
- If you have no close relatives, your estate passes to the Crown, ie the government
- You have not appointed guardians for your children, or specified any funeral arrangements and provided for the cost of these.
What should I do next?
You need to make a Will that is legally binding. To do so, it is important to have this prepared by a specialist Wills solicitor, who can make sure that it:
- Is drafted properly using the right legal language that is clear and cannot be challenged
- Contains everything that needs to be in it, and the right people will take responsibility for being your executors
- Signed and witnessed in accordance with the strict rules that govern this.
There are ‘DIY wills’ on offer, and you may believe that these will save you time and money. They often prove costly in the long-run, as many turn out to be poorly drafted or even invalid. Similar problems can arise with unqualified or poorly-qualified ‘Will-writers’.
At Davis Gregory we have for many years provided a specialist Will-writing service. We will discuss with you your requirements, advise you if you are uncertain about what to do, then prepare your Will and make certain it is legally valid. If you wish, we will store the original Will for you free of charge, and provide you with a copy. Our current charge for a straightforward Will for an individual to include all this is £275 + VAT and mirror wills for husband and wife is £500 + VAT.
This article is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute technical, financial, legal advice or any other type of professional advice and is no substitute for specific advice based on your individual circumstances. We do not accept responsibility or liability for any actions taken based on the information in this article.