Do I Need a Will?

We are often asked by clients “do I need a Will?” or “does my (loved one) need a Will?” and when answering this question there are several factors to consider. It is also important not simply to see a Will as something you might need but, in fact, something you might want!

Firstly, it is important to consider what a Will actually does, or can do, which includes:-

  • dictating who is going to be in charge of administering your Estate, known as your Executors;
  • giving guidance about your Funeral wishes;
  • appointing Guardians to look after your minor children;
  • dividing up all of your assets including personal possessions and cash which could be gifted to individuals, organisations or charities;
  • dictating the age at which your children become entitled to their share;
  • providing guidance as to the care of your pets;
  • …and many other things.

Secondly, you should consider what would happen if you passed away without a Will. In such a case, your Estate would be governed by the Intestacy Rules. These Rules provide for the following:-

  • who is entitled to administer your Estate, known as your Administrator; and
  • who is entitled to benefit from your Estate.

The Intestacy Rules provide for entitlement in order of family relationship which can often lead to someone who you would not wish to act or benefit, acting or benefiting. The order followed is:-

  1. Spouse or Civil Partner (if you have children then they will also share in the Estate if your net worth is over £250,000 which could dramatically affect a surviving spouse or civil partner, particularly as this could result in needing to sell the family home)
  2. Children
  3. Parents
  4. Siblings
  5. Grandparents
  6. Aunts/Uncles

(none of the above include step-relations)

If you have no relatives within the above list, then your entire Estate could pass to the Crown.

It is therefore undeniably clear that one of the benefits of preparing a Will is that you are able to choose who fulfils which roles and what happens generally after your death.

To summarise, the aspects to consider when deciding whether you really need a Will are:-

  • are you married?
  • do you have children?
  • do you have stepchildren?
  • are you cohabiting?
  • do you have any assets (a house, etc.)?
  • do you have any specific funeral wishes?
  • would you like to choose what happens after your death?

If you have answered “YES” to any of the above questions, then you DO really need a Will.

Get in Touch

If you would like to discuss the preparation of your Will with one of our specialists, or have any queries prior to deciding whether to proceed, then please contact Charlotte Fox on 0118 958 9711 or [email protected] and she, or another member of the team here in Reading, will be glad to assist you.

Further Reading:

Organ Donation, the new Opt-out System and Funeral Wishes

Long Delays in the Probate Registry

Windfall for the Ex-Carer of an Elderly Widow

J.R.R. Tolkien and Literary Executors

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