In these difficult times, I am sure we have all changed our perspective on life and sadly as we all struggle with coming to terms with the increased risk we face each day it may be sensible to address the reality of what happens to our assets and liabilities should we die.
Importance of Making a Will
It is very important that everyone considers how they see their belongings, money etc being divided should they pass away. It is not all about money – it could simply be ensuring that a ring or watch that a grandchild or child expresses a liking for actually receives the ring or watch as a personal memento of you and for them to know you cared. Or it could simply be a gift of some money to a friend as a thank you for their kindness and help over the years. A will is essential to achieve this and many other things.
For certain individuals the making of a will is very important. For example an unmarried couple living together in a house which they own, may be held by them as what is called ‘tenants in common’ – this manner of ownership is often used because the couple have contributed unequal amounts to the deposit on the house – if this is the case and no wills have been put in place then their interest in the house will pass through their ‘intestacy’ which in summary means the interest would pass to their nearest relative for example their children/parents/siblings – but certainly not to the surviving partner. This could leave the surviving partner struggling financially and needing to sell the house!
Not having a will in place also means any money in a person’s sole name would also pass to their nearest relative, together with any car, sofa and even cat!
Appointing a Guardian
There are a number of aspects of a will which are often forgotten. There is the ability to appoint a guardian within the will for your children who are under the age of 18. You can designate who you would like to look after your children if both you and partner have died – you designate this and not your relatives or social services. In addition, if you marry after making a will and the existing will has not been made in contemplation of marriage then your subsequent marriage revokes your will.
In short a will is a very flexible document. It enables you to choose who is in charge of your assets (the executors) and who gets what (and when if there is a minor as one of the beneficiaries). A will can also incorporate trusts to protect assets until someone achieves a specified age or to protect an asset passing to a new wife.
Reviewing your Will
I suggest clients review their wills if something nice happens or nasty and at least every five years (even if it is just in your head!). Will reviews with ourselves are generally not charged to our existing clients unless they require us to undertake changes or indeed put in place new Wills.
We can help
If you need help in making your Will: contact the team at Ringrose Law.
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Hi, I’m Emma and I’m MyBump2aby’s family law, protection and financial editor. I’m passionate about better-informing parents on their choices when it comes to family law and family protection and financial matters.