Making a new will is one of those tasks which one intends to “get round to” but one which often gets delayed for more pressing tasks. Until you make your will you are potentially vulnerable and exposed. You should consider the following:
- As a house owner you will always arrange buildings insurance which will cover you in the event of a fire. It cannot be denied that the chance of this occurring is remote yet you still take out such insurance without hesitation. Unfortunately in life one never knows what is round the corner so making a will NOW will give you the peace of mind and security of knowing that your affairs are in order and your loved ones will be taken care of if the worst should come to the worst.
- If as in most cases you were to leave your property to your spouse or civil partner in a will they will get the benefit of an exemption from Inheritance Tax; this means that on the death of the first spouse or civil partner no Inheritance Tax would be payable if all is left to the other spouse or civil partner whatever the total value of the deceased’s nett assets (their estate). Furthermore, on the death of the surviving spouse or civil partner the Inheritance Tax threshold below which no tax is payable can double to £650,000. This doubling of the threshold is being increased to up to £1 million from 2017 to 2020 but only in relation to the family home. Without a will Inheritance Tax could be payable on the death of each spouse or civil partner, depending on the total value of the estate. It makes sense to make a will sooner rather than later to prevent having to pay out tax unnecessarily.
- If you have children under 18 it is even more important for you to make a will to ensure that you choose who should act as Guardians of your children rather than having this dictated to by the State in the event of your dying without making a will (intestate).
- In the event of an intestacy any children under 18 who stand to ultimately inherit your estate will inherit at the age of 18 and no later, an age when children may lack the maturity to handle large sums of money. A will which allows for inheritance at a later age of 21 or 25 will prevent this from happening.
- It is a popular misconception that if you die intestate all your estate will automatically pass to your spouse, partner or next of kin but this is not necessarily the case. In such a situation your estate will be distributed according to inflexible intestacy rules going back 100 years. Undeserving members of your family could inherit.
- If at the date of your death you were not legally married or in a civil partnership your partner will inherit nothing without a will which could result in family members with whom you may not be particularly close or with whom you may have fallen out inheriting instead of your partner.
- If your marriage or civil partnership were to break down without you having replaced your existing will, your spouse or civil partner could inherit your property under the existing will against your current wishes.
- Finally you may not fully appreciate that if you enter into marriage or a civil partnership any existing will is rendered invalid. You may be lulled into a false sense of security so you should make a new will immediately.