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Your Guide to Your First Will and Why You Need One

Why it is in your own best interests to write a Will?

There are many advantages to having a Will. One of the main ones is that when you die it will be the Will which will decide how your money, property and possessions are shared out in accordance with your wishes.

Why you should make a Will before your death?

By making a Will before your death your assets will be shared among the people you intended. Your loved ones will be distressed enough once you die and you will not want to make things worse for them because they miss out on inheriting any of your money or possessions or a share of your property because you never made a Will.

The effects of dying without making a Will

If you die without making a will a will it is called intestacy or dying intestate. There are differences in law between the four countries of the United Kingdom, but there are some common points if someone dies without a Will.

These include:

  • Partners of people who are not married or in a civil partnership cannot inherit from the deceased spouse partner cannot inherit unless they are named in the Will.
  • A husband or wife may inherit most or all of your estate and the children miss out unless it is stipulated in the Will (please note this is not the case for residents in Scotland). This also applies even when spouses are separated but not yet divorced at the time of death.
  • For people with children or grandchildren who have not made a Will, how much they receive can very much depend on which country in the UK the deceased was living. All this uncertainty can be avoided by making a Will.
  • Under the law of ‘bona vacantia’ those who die without making a Will and leave behind no close relatives will have their estate go to the Crown. If a Will had been made the estate could have been left to a non-relative (such as a close friend) or a favourite good cause such as a charity.
  • The Inheritance Tax for people who die without leaving a Will can be higher. This can be avoided by making a Will.

If you die without a Will who inherits?

  • If you die intestate grandchildren, great-grandchildren and even later descendants can inherit.
  • Under the term ‘Per stirpes’ (which is the Latin for ‘by branch’) each branch of your family will inherit from your estate. This includes all children. If one dies their share will be split among the rest.

All of this demonstrates that only by making a Will can you be assured that your estate will shared out as you intended following death. To ensure your last wishes are respected please contact us (name) for help and assistance in making a Will.

What should I do now?

We would love to hear from you and assist you with drafting your first Will. Our lawyers can meet with you in person to take your instructions or if you prefer, we can take your instructions electronically (by email) and meet with you once the final draft has been approved for the Will signing. 

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Or, telephone us on 020 8405 4278.