8 SIMPLE SIGNS THAT SHOULD MAKE YOU THINK ABOUT MAKING A WILL (or updating your current Will)
Whenever we think about Wills we automatically think that we are too young to make a Will and that it is for the older generation. We hope to change your mind about this as there are stages that you will reach during your lifetime when you need to think about making a Will:
- Marriage – if you already have a Will then marriage will automatically invalidate your existing Will. This means that you will not have a Will and the Intestacy rules will apply to your estate upon death. The Intestacy rules decide where your estate is to go in the absence of a Will.
This means that your estate could pass to your spouse or civil partner whether it is your intention or not. This means that children may not inherit upon your death.
If you are planning on getting married or forming a civil partnership then you can make your Will in expectation of this and then your Will will remain valid upon your marriage or civil partnership.
Once you are married it is advisable to make new Wills.
- Living together – you may have decided that marriage or forming a civil partnership is not the right choice for you. In the absence of a Will your partner will not receive anything automatically from your estate upon your death.
To ensure that your partner is provided for in the event of your death it is beneficial to make a Will. This may include members of your partner’s family for example your partner’s children who are brought up within the family unit – who will not benefit from anything if you do not have a Will.
- Buying a house – A house purchase will be one of the most expensive assets you will normally own and by making a Will you can ensure that it is left in accordance with your wishes.
You may own the property in your sole name but wish to provide for a third party to live in the property for a specified length of time after your death this would be covered in your Will.
If you own your property as joint tenants which means that your property will automatically pass to the surviving co-owner whether you have a Will or not. If this is not your intention you can sever your joint tenancy and leave your share of your home under the terms of your Will.
If you already own your property as tenants in common, then you can leave your share of the property in your Will.
- Children – When having children, it is advisable to make a Will to ensure that you decide who looks after your children. Your wishes are clear in your Will and it avoids any potential uncertainty or arguments whereby a court may make a decision in the best interests of your children.
You can also financially provide for your children during their minority by using a trust and you can decide what age they can access their inheritance in your Will.
- Separation – If the event of a relationship breakdown – whether it be a marriage, civil partnership or long-term relationship it is advisable to consider whether your Will should be updated at this time.
If you die without updating your will then your ex will be entitled to receive their entitlement under your Will.
Should you enter into a new relationship then it is beneficial to review your Will to ensure that your wishes reflect your current situation.
- Divorce – if you have decided to divorce or dissolve your civil partnership and it has not yet been finalised, then you are still within that relationship. If you die during the proceedings, then your spouse or civil partner is entitled to inherit under the intestacy rules or under the terms of your existing Will.
At this time, it is beneficial to review the terms of your current Will or make a new Will and replace any appointment which would have been your spouse or civil partner.
Upon the finalisation of your divorce or dissolution of your civil partnership any current Will you hold remains valid BUT your ex-spouse or ex-civil partner will be deemed to have pre-deceased you – this means that for the purposes of your Will they have died during your lifetime and cannot inherit under the terms of your Will.
To avoid any uncertainty or confusion it is advisable to make a new Will.
- Illness – if you do not have a Will but have received life changing news about your health, this may prompt you to make a Will. By making a Will you can include all the details about your wishes and funeral requirements.
You may feel that once you have made your Will you can concentrate on your family and the other important issues in your life.
- Death – upon the death of a loved one or a close friend you may feel that you need to think about making a Will or updating your existing Will.
It can be a positive step to keep your affairs in order, but it can also be the negative aspect of a situation whereby the wishes of the deceased were not carried out due to not having a Will or updating their Will.
In any of these situations that you find yourself in during your lifetime we at Michael Lewin Solicitors are here to assist you in the making or updating of your Will. We will to discuss with you any other requirements in relation to your own personal circumstances. We want you to be reassured that your affairs are in order making it easier for loved ones to cope. It is important that your Will is properly drafted to minimise the chance of a potential argument about your estate after death.
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Call 0113 200 9787 to speak to one of our solicitors.