Why should I make a Will?
A carefully drafted Will can save considerable sums of money in IHT and give you peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out.
Most of us would rather not think about our own death and maybe this is the main reason why over 60% of us haven’t made a Will. There are also many misconceptions that stop people making a Will, for example “everything I have will automatically go to my wife”, “my estate is too small” or “it is too expensive”.
There are many good reasons for making a Will, for example:
It is the only way of ensuring that the people you want to benefit actually do inherit your estate. If you die without making a Will, the intestacy rules apply in an arbitrary manner. This may lead to your spouse having to share your estate with your children whom you may not have intended to benefit straightaway.
At present the intestacy rules do not recognise cohabitees. If you live with your partner and die without having made a Will, your partner will not automatically inherit any of your estate – there is no such thing as a “common law wife”. Your partner may have a claim on the estate, but this is expensive and a situation that should be avoided.
Tax planning; for a married couple, careful drafting of a Will can ensure that inheritance tax (IHT) is kept to a minimum.
Trusts; under a carefully drawn Will, you can set up trusts for beneficiaries under age or for beneficiaries with a disabilities.
Home made Wills should only be used in the most straightforward of circumstances and can be disastrous, leading to considerably more expense than need be the case. Will writing companies are unregulated and do not offer the consumer protection that a solicitor does as we are backed by Professional Indemnity Insurance and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
A carefully drafted Will drawn by an experienced solicitor can save considerable sums of money in IHT and give you peace of mind in ensuring that your wishes will be carried out. Time, however, does not stand still and it is necessary to keep your Will under regular review.