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Insight | For Individuals

Do I need a Will?

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If you die without a Will there are certain rules that dictate how your money, property and possessions should be allocated, and this may not necessarily follow your wishes.

Taking expert advice now will give you complete complete control over what happens after you’ve gone and allow you to specify who will benefit from your legacy.

A significant proportion of people still do not have a Will nor see the benefit of having one.

In England and Wales, if you do not have a valid Will at your death, your estate is deemed Intestate and the distribution of your Estate will be determined by the Rules of Intestacy whereby your spouse or civil partner may have to share your estate with your children.

If you die Intestate leaving a spouse or civil partner, and you have children (issue), your spouse or civil partner will receive your personal effects and whilst any joint assets pass automatically to the surviving holder, for any assets in a deceased sole name, only the first £270,000 of any assets you own will pass to your spouse or civil partner and the rest will be divided equally between the spouse or civil partner and your children.

In addition, Intestacy provisions provide no entitlement for the consideration of step-children and it may be estranged or unknown family members may benefit instead.

A Will may also deal with specific consideration of particular direction of childrens guardianship, distribution of personal effects and provision for any pets. Direction can be given for funeral instructions or specific wishes you may have.

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You may wish to consider in your Will provision for family members who may have special needs where it may be in their best interests to have their inheritance managed for them under a Trust or Discretionary Trust. A will can also provide Inheritance tax efficiencies which could be lost under an Intestacy.

If you do not have any immediate or close family, you may prefer your estate to pass in your Will to friends or charities rather than it potentially passing to the Treasury solicitor to administer under a Bona Vacantia and pass your estate to the crown.

In summary dying Intestate can cause uncertainty, delay and worry to the family whilst the Rules of Intestacy are applied to your Estate and the correct representative identified and the estate distribution clarified.

If you die without a valid Will, you may find that those who you would wish to benefit, may be lost.

The best way to ensure that your Estate is distributed in accordance with your wishes, your intentions carried out, and to protect your family, yes it is most important that you have a Will.


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Meet our Wills, Trusts & Probate Legal Team

At Heald Solicitors, based in Milton Keynes, our expert lawyers have wide experience across all aspects of Wills, trusts and probate as well as in dealing with related disputes.
Give us a call 01908 662277

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