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GN Law Media: When do I need a Will?

When do I need a will?

Everyone over the age of 18 can make a will to make it easier for their loved ones after they’ve gone.  Fortunately, there has been a rise over recent years in the number of people realising how beneficial it is for them to make a will.  Here are some common examples:

If you are single

You will want to decide how your estate is divided amongst friends, relatives and charities of your choice.  Without a will, a law written in 1925 will decide who inherits.

If you are married or in a civil partnership

Don’t assume your spouse will get everything. They may end up sharing their inheritance, including ownership of your home, with your brothers, sisters, parents or children.

If you are cohabiting

If you live as a couple, but are not married or in a civil partnership, your surviving partner may get nothing at all.  There is no such thing as a common law husband or wife so a will is essential to protect your partner.  Without a will, they could become homeless.

If you are a parent

You will want to decide who would look after your children in the event of your death. This is particularly important in the case of single parent families or unmarried parents living together. If your wishes are not clearly stated the Court will decide on the future of your children.

If you are in a second marriage

The interests of your current spouse and your children or step-children need to be carefully balanced and this can only be achieved by making a will.  If your spouse re-marries after your death, will they continue to provide for your children or will your estate end up passing to the new partner?

If your estate is worth more than £325,000

You can carry out tax planning in your will to protect your family from Inheritance Tax.

If you own a business

It is likely that someone will need to be able to run your business during the days and weeks following your death, even if this is only to wind up the business.  By making a will, you can provide a trusted person with all the legal powers they need to take care of your business interests.

If you have vulnerable beneficiaries

You may want to leave assets to someone who is disabled, in a broken marriage, receiving means tested benefits, at risk of bankruptcy or simply unable to manage money properly.  Writing a will means you can protect such a vulnerable beneficiary.

If you are retired

You can use your will to protect assets against care home fees.

These are some common examples of issues that affect people.  However, because every individual has unique family and financial circumstances they deserve a will that is tailored specifically to their needs and wishes. Please take care of the future by having a will properly drawn up by a solicitor.

Karen Shakespeare

Consultant Solicitor

Posted on Thursday, 19th July 2012