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Why Making A Will Should Be Your New Year Resolution

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Anyone over the age of 18 should consider making their 2017 New Year Resolution to make a Will warn solicitors as changing Intestacy rules mean more families are being disinherited or paying high inheritance taxes.

Experts claim rising house prices are to blame and as properties have soared in value beneficiaries of an estate are affected by inheritance tax.

A recent survey by the Will Aid charity found that over half of all adults in the UK do not have a Will.

It found that while young people are the least likely to have made a Will, despite being eligible and it 35% of people with no will have dependent children and therefore have not assigned guardians for them.

Almost 44% of those who are married or in a civil partnership have not written a Will.  Almost 70% of cohabiting couples have no Will and in these cases the surviving partner would have no automatic right to inherit - and the reason most stated for not having a Will - 51.6% say the reason they have just not got around to it.

Modern families also complicate matters, there are often stepchildren and half-siblings to consider. The more extended the family, the more likely the chance of a row if a Will is not in place.

There is currently a popular myth that the "common-law" spouse is afforded legal rights – but this not the case, the entire estate of an unmarried couple with no children would go to the blood relatives of the deceased, the partner gets nothing. 

Private Client Solicitor, Hannah Pearson, said:  “New Year has always been a time for reflection, and more importantly, to look forward to the coming year. It is a time to make resolutions on the changes we want (or need) to make. As we know, many resolutions are made with the best intentions but never achieved.

“At present, one in three people in the UK dies without making a will, and half of all people over the age of 45 have not made a will, but everyone who has property and who cares about what will happen to it on his or her death should make a Will. If you die without one, your money and possessions may be distributed to people you do not believe should inherit them,” she warned.

Top Ten things to consider when making a Will is your New Year Resolution

Your Will should state:

  1. who you want to benefit
  2. who should look after any children under 18
  3. who is going to sort out your estate and carry out your wishes after your death (your executor)
  4. what happens if the people you want to benefit die before you

You will need legal advice if your Will isn’t straightforward:

  1. you share a property with someone who isn’t your husband, wife or civil partner
  2. you want to leave money or property to a dependant who can’t care for themselves
  3. you have several family members who may make a claim on your will, eg a second spouse or children from another marriage
  4. your permanent home is outside the UK
  5. you have property overseas
  6. you have a business

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

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