Recently the TFG team was at a festival near Berwick offering free legal advice. Many of the enquiries we received centred on Wills and Probate and our solicitors heard many stories of bitter family disputes and divisions caused by a lack of a Will.
We also had people from all different backgrounds confessing they needed to make a Will but had been delaying it.
And while this is natural, none of us really want to face our own mortality, the process really isn’t that complicated or expensive. Compared to the significant financial benefits making a Will offers, and the peace of mind that comes from making the probate process less stressful for your loved ones, the time it takes is neglible.
Unfortunately, many people presume that even if they don’t make a Will, their partner and family will still inherit all their assets. But if you die without making a Will you are said to die intestate and the rules of intestacy will apply.
These set out who would administer a person’s estate and who would benefit and are not always as clear cut as people expect. The surviving spouse in a civil partnership, for example, would only receive a portion of the estate while if you were co-habiting, your partner wouldn’t receive anything, even if you have been living together for many years.
The intestacy provisions are complex and can make the administration of a person’s estate more expensive leaving less of an inheritance for your family.
If you have made a Will be aware that changes in your circumstances might mean you need to revisit it. For example getting married automatically cancels a Will unless it specifically states that it’s been made in contemplation of that marriage. Setting up home with a partner, becoming a parent or getting divorced, all mean a Will should be revisited. Likewise, if you come into money or if you own a business, because you’ll need to make provision for the business to be wound up or sold following your death.
If you need further advice or information, call one of our Wills and Probate team on 0800 0 274 274. Initial consultations are free.