Half of all adults do not have a Will. Even those who have made one probably haven't reviewed or updated it for some time.
There are many reasons given for not making a Will. Most of them are just plain wrong or because someone is unaware of the purpose of the importance of writing a Will.
The ten we hear most often are:
1. A Will makes no difference because everything will go to my partner anyway
This is not the case. If you have not made a Will, the Intestacy Rules apply. That means that your estate will be left in accordance with a strict hierarchy of your closest relatives. If you are married and have children, your spouse gets all personal possessions and assets worth up to £270,000.00. Of the remainder, half goes to your children and the other half to your spouse. If you die with no spouse but children it all goes to the children. If you are not married or in a civil partnership it does not matter how long you have been in a relationship or how many children you have. Your partner is not entitled to anything that is not in joint names.
2. There is no point because it can all be challenged in court
It is true that a Will can be challenged in court. The main grounds are that the person who made it did not have capacity or was put under undue influence. That is not a good reason for avoiding writing a Will. It shows why it is important to have one made by someone who is qualified and experienced to avoid such problems.
A Will can also be challenged under the Inheritance (PFD) Act by certain members of the family and dependents. That applies equally to the arrangements that apply under the Intestacy Rules if no Will was made. With a Will, steps can be taken to greatly reduce the chances of a claim or one being successful such as explaining why certain decisions were made or making provision for people who may consider a claim.
Take a look at our article on how to ensure your Will stands up in court for further help and advice.
3. My nearest and dearest can sort everything out
If you have not made a Will, the Intestacy Rules apply. Those rules determine who can apply to administer your affairs. If you are married or in a civil partnership your spouse can apply. If you are not but have children over 18 years old, then they can apply. The next in line are grandchildren over 18 years old, then parents, siblings, half brothers and sisters and then grandparents. If more than one person is entitled in any group the first person to make the application will obtain the required "Grant". You may therefore end up with your affairs looked after by someone you would not choose, who may not know you or who may not be appropriate.
4. A Will makes it more expensive and slows things down when I am gone
The opposite is true. The process of administering a person’s affairs is much the same whether or not there was a Will. However, if no Will can be found delays and cost will invariably follow as enquiries must be made to ascertain if one was not one made. That can involve writing to all solicitors the deceased was known to have dealt with or are in the area where he/she lived. It may also require advertising in the press.
There is an increased risk of disputes as often someone will claim or believe that they were left something or were entitled to something. In addition, if there is no Will extra cost and delay may arise tracing potential beneficiaries.
When someone makes a Will, it is an opportunity to put your affairs in order which in turn can make things easier - and cheaper - later on.
5. I don't care what happens when I am gone
If that is the case, there is little that can be said. However, it is to be hoped that most people care about their family and loved ones enough to want to make things better and easier for them at a time which will already be difficult and stressful. A Will enables you to do just that, and will give you the peace of mind that everything will be taken care of for you.
6. The Government will get most of my Estate anyway
Making a Will is actually a great opportunity to reduce your tax bill. If you want to pass on as much of your har- earned money to the people you want to benefit: make a Will.
If you do not have family or friends you want to leave your assets to you can always chose a charity. The Solicitors Benevolent Fund is a personal favourite! If you do nothing and no beneficiaries can be found it will definitely go to the State.
7. I want to be as flexible as possible.
Unfortunately, very few people know when they will pass away or lose capacity to make a Will so this is a risky strategy.
A Will is said to speak from the date of death, not the date it is made. That means it can be changed at any time while you still have capacity. Changing a Will is also much more straightforward than making a new one as most of the decisions will already have been made.
It should also be remembered that a Will can be altered at any time within two years of death if the beneficiaries are over 18 and of sound mind and all agree.
8. My children will be looked after by my partner/spouse
This is probably true but if there are young children you and your partner/spouse should consider what will happen to them if you should both die in an accident or some other tragedy.
A Will is an opportunity to decide who will be the guardians of your children, and to make financial provision for them. it is also an opportunity to give guidance for the children’s' upbringing.
9. Wills are too expensive
Some people say that when they make a Will it is put away and forgotten about so they get no benefit from it. What people are actually getting with a Will is peace of mind and the knowledge you have cared for your family and loved ones.
A properly prepared Will should pay for itself many times over financially, emotionally and practically. They are in reality very good value for money provided they are made with some thought and good guidance.
10. I haven't got time to make a Will
This is probably the most common excuse given. There is an understandable reluctance to do something that involves thinking about your death and what happens when you are no longer around. When you add that to the busy schedules most people have it is not surprising a Will is put off - often until it is too late.
Making a Will is not tempting fate. It is really the opposite. The coronavirus has shown that the unexpected can happen at any time and it makes good sense to be prepared. Many people who do make a Will do so because they have had to deal with the affairs of someone who did not and they say they would not wish anyone they love have the same problems.
Making a Will is important. Don’t put it off. Protect your family now.
For more information on how Labrums can help you make a Will to protect your legacy and your loved ones, contact us today and a member of team will be happy to help.