We all know that there are numerous lists of reasons why to make a will. In fact – we made one ourselves and put it on our website.
There may be many legal, technical and compelling reasons to make a will but here at DMC we know that there is really only one reason:-
We know it sounds a bit soft and fuzzy but no-one ever said that a will had to be all about inheritance tax, nil rate bands and trusts. These things are all very important, very serious issues but deep down the real reason to make a will lies in the desire to look after the people and things that we love.
1. LOVE for your SPOUSE or PARTNER
You’ve done the hard bit. You’ve found the love of your life and they tolerate you love you too. Surely you want to now make sure that they are looked after when you die and everything is sorted in a way that will cause them the minimum of distress?
Experience would tell us that the answer is often “not really”. Why? We’ve two quick examples:-
The Married Person “I don’t need a will – we don’t have much and the wife/husband will get it all anyway” scenario
A simple will usually leaves everything to your wife or civil partner. If you don’t make a will you die intestate and the law decides how much of your estate your spouse or civil partner will get.
If you have an estate worth over £250,000 then they won’t get everything automatically but will instead receive:
- personal items, such as household articles and cars, but nothing used for business purposes
- up to £250,000 free of tax
If you have a child they get one half of what is left or if you have more than one child they get one-third share of the residue.
The rest of your estate will then be shared between your:
- Children; or
- if you have none surviving then your grandchildren; or
- if there are no children or grandchildren any of your surviving parents; or
- if there are no children, grandchildren or surviving parents, your brothers and sisters will get a share; or
- their children if your brothers or sister died before you.
Not exactly straight forward, is it? You’ll see that there could be a situation where part of your estate goes to your children, grandchildren, parents or siblings when you really only wanted to leave it all to your significant other to help them plan for the rest of their and your family’s future.
Only if you have none of the above will your husband, wife or registered civil partner get everything.
Better still, make a will and make sure.
The “We’re not legally married but I thought they would get my estate as we’ve been together forever” scenario
Only those who are married or in a civil partnership can inherit without a will (subject to the ‘simple’ rules set out above). If you live with someone or are in a long term relationship and want that person to inherit some or all of your estate then you need to make a will.
As we’ve seen above the law will dictate how inherits what when there is no will. If the law deems that you are not married then your estate will be shared out in accordance with the process above. The last thing you will want is for your partner to be left in discussions with your children, parents or siblings as to what happens to your home, belonging or finances, especially in a time of grief and sadness.
Without a will you are effectively leaving your partner to assert their position and convince your family to waive their rights under law and to divert your estate back to your partner in what is known as a Deed of Family Arrangement.
“Of course my family would do that without hesitation!” you cry.
“Make a will and don’t leave this mess to either your partner or your family” DMC politely suggest.
2. LOVE for your CHILDREN
Most of our clients don’t make specific provision for their children on first death. They usually leave everything to their spouse on the basis that the surviving spouse will deal with the division of the estate in their will. That’s fine.
What all of our clients have done however is that they make provision as to what would happen if something happened to both parents at the same time. Unthinkable, we know. But really, think about it.
- Do you know who your children would live with?
- How that person/those people would financially support your children?
- Who will look after their inheritance until they were old enough to inherit?
- How old would your children be when they receive their inheritance?
- Would they know what specific items would be left to them?
Have those conversations now. Speak to siblings, parents or close friends and reassure yourself that you know that some you love and trust would raise your children.
Reassure yourself that your daughter will get your engagement ring, your son your favourite watch.
Appoint someone with financial intelligence to invest your children’s inheritance to ensure that the money you leave them works hard for them whilst they grow up.
Set your mind at rest that the boisterous tearaway currently rampaging around your house and spending all their money in Game or Claire’s Accessories won’t get their hand on your fortune until they are 21, 25 or 30 (!).
Be sure. Be prepared. Get it right.
3. LOVE for your GRANDCHILDREN
It’s a simple one, this one. There is no ulterior motive here but for Nana or Nannie, Granda or Gramps to spoil them one more time.
Sure you can leave your estate to your children and hope they pass some of it down to your grandchildren but many of our clients prefer to leave a treasured possession or comparatively small amount of money directly to a grandchild as a token and reminder.
As the wise Jim Rohn said “A life worth living is a life worth recording”
4. LOVE of GOD
A legacy to your church or a chosen outreach or mission program can make a huge difference. Whether it is for the building fund, a church project, youth club or activity or to support the work of dedicated people in difficult and dangerous places around the world, a specific legacy in your will ensures that your wishes are carried out.
5. LOVE for OTHERS
Many charities and medical research rely on legacies as a large part of their fundraising. Legacies account for a quarter of the total amount given to charity each year and topped an annual £2.24bn. However a recent study showed that whilst 35% of people interviewed said they would leave a legacy to charity in their will, only 7% actually follow through and actually make a will.
If not a large charity, then maybe you have other interests? Maybe you’d like to support the arts; animal welfare, your club or leave something unique or treasured to a close friend?
So there it is.
Look after those that you love by taking a few hours out of your busy day to give some thought as to how you would want to provide for them.
Give it some thought and make a list.
Make an appointment with us.
Settle the big questions and sleep better at night knowing that all is sorted.
It’s a relativity inexpensive process and won’t take that long. And most importantly?
Remember what John and Paul said; “All you need is love”
This blog is made available by DMC for information purposes is not intended to provide specific legal advice in relation to any particular circumstances. You should therefore not act upon this information without seeking advice from a qualified lawyer and obtaining advice specific to your query. Your use of this blog is at your own risk and we cannot guarantee that the blog will reflect the most current legal developments at the time of reading. DMC will therefore not be responsible for any errors or omissions in the content of this site or blog.