Your Wishes Count
The Need to Make a Will
Having an up-to-date Will is incredibly important. If you don’t have one, don’t worry, you’re not alone, less than half of the UK population have one when they die. Without an up-to-date Will, those you leave behind could be faced with a financial and legal muddle; and the State could take everything.
A Will is uniquely personal. It is your way of knowing that your final wishes will be carried out. It will ensure that those people and causes closest to you are provided for.
Many people don’t have a Will because they think it’s too expensive, or they simply forget to get one drawn up. But it’s simpler and cheaper than you think.
So what happens if I die without making a Will?
When a Will hasn’t been made there are often difficulties faced by those left behind. The question of who deals with the Estate and ‘who gets what’ can lead to complex and expensive legal disputes.
If you die without a valid Will (called dying ‘Intestate’), the law decides who can deal with your Estate and how your Estate is distributed.
The ‘Intestacy Rules’ are strict legal rules which set out exactly how the Estate is distributed between the next of kin. The outcome depends on which surviving relatives you have and the size of your Estate. The details are too complicated to outline here but some important points to note are:
- A surviving spouse or civil partner does not necessarily become entitled to all of the Estate.
- If you have a partner but are not married or in a registered civil partnership, then your partner would have no rights to your Estate under the Intestacy Rules. This is the case regardless of how long you had been together or whether you lived together.
- Close relatives may have a claim on the Estate – including the family home.
- If you leave no surviving spouse or civil partner and no blood relatives, everything could well pass to the State.
- The rules do not allow for legacies or gifts to friends, neighbours or good causes.
It is important to make a Will to avoid the Intestacy Rules, which are complex and unlikely to accord with your wishes. A Will ensures that your assets will go where and when you want them to. Even if you don’t have a family, you will still want to ensure that your possessions go where you wish - perhaps to friends or to the causes/charities you support.
A valid Will also allows you to:
- Decide who administers your Estate by naming Executors
- Appoint a Guardian to look after minor children
- Express funeral wishes
- Ensure tax efficiency
- Leave gifts to friends and neighbours
- Leave something to charity
Making sure your wishes count
Making a Will means that, once all debts, expenses and obligations have been covered, the remainder of your estate will be distributed exactly as you want. It will make your personal wishes known and ensure they are followed.
We strongly recommend you use a Solicitor who specialises in Will drafting. The CBA cannot recommend a Solicitor.
Why should I make sure my Will is up to date?
As we grow older our wishes may change and so a Will needs to be kept up to date to reflect this.
Changes made directly onto your Will can invalidate the whole document. We strongly recommend that you consult a Solicitor. They may amend your existing Will with a simple addition, known as a Codicil, or draft you a new one.
The gift of a lifetime – a legacy that lives on
Many people use their Will to make a gift to causes and charities they care about.
When you do make or update your Will, and have remembered your loved ones, please consider helping the CBA by leaving a gift to support our work for archaeology. It doesn’t matter what size the gift is, every penny helps!
Charitable legacies are currently exempt from Inheritance Tax – so all of your gift will be used to develop a future, for our past. A Codicil can easily be added to include a charitable gift.
If you do choose to remember us in your Will – thank you! Please complete the confidential pledge notification form to let us know of your intentions. It is incredibly useful for us to know your wishes as it helps us plan for the future and gives us the opportunity to show our appreciation.
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