Do you really need a Will? To some people the answer to this question may be obvious because of the industry in which they work or previous experiences with family members dying with, or without, a Will. However, some people may not feel it’s relevant to them because they do not have any assets to distribute yet.
Generally speaking, in the UK anyone over the age of 18 can make a valid Will. Some of the reasons that people who have not yet made a Will give is because they are not married, they don’t own their own property or they don’t have any children.
When someone dies without a Will
In the UK, when someone dies without a Will their estate passes in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy, which sets out a specific order of who benefits from the estate. If you die without a Will, unmarried and with no children or grandchildren then your estate would automatically pass in the following order;
- to your parents, or if none
- to your whole blood siblings, or if none
- to your half blood siblings, or if none
- to grandparents, or if none
- to uncles and aunts of the whole blood, or if none
- to uncles and aunts of the half blood.
Ultimately, if none of the above survive you, your assets will pass to the Crown.
Aside from the risk of someone benefitting from your estate who you would not have chosen, dealing with the estate of someone who died without a Will is much more complicated and costly.
The Role of an Executor
When you make a valid Will, you appoint people, or a company, that you trust to be your Executor or Executors. They will deal with your assets, pay any debts owed by you, and ensure that everything that is left passes to the correct people in accordance with your wishes.
Without a valid Will, the Rules of Intestacy will again step in and dictate who has the legal authority to deal with your estate. This not only takes additional time and increases costs but it can also cause family conflict and unnecessary distress for your loved ones.
The reasons for needing a Will may be more obvious to those who own property or have children but there are absolutely no reasons for anyone not to have a Will.
If you would like advice on making a Will or to review your existing Will, please contact us.