It is hard to think about dying and what will happen once you are gone, but by not planning ahead you could make life much harder for those you leave behind. Being prepared for that eventuality will help those you love, and make the admin, which is complex and laborious, easier for them.
Three in five (59%) UK adults have not written a will, over 31 million people
Reference: Canada Life research.
A will ensures your wishes are carried out when you die and makes the process of probate easier for your executor. It also protects your assets by ensuring you do not pay additional tax to the Government. If you have children (under 18), it will instruct who should have guardianship over them, instead of a court deciding.
What happens to your assets if you do not have a will. The different rules depend on the following scenarios:
Married with no children - your partner will inherit everything.
Married with children - your partner inherits the first £270,000 and 50% of the estate the remaining 50% is divided equally among any children
Not married without children - you have no rights to inherit your partners assets. You can make an application to claim for reasonable financial provision, but that will only mean a maintenance payment rather than all of their assets being transferred.
Not married with children - you have no rights to inherit your partners assets. The children will inherit the whole estate, and it is divided equally among them. As above you can make an application to claim for reasonable financial provision, but that will only mean a maintenance payment rather than all of their assets being transferred.
If you jointly own property - the surviving person will automatically take ownership of the rest of the property. However you may need to pay inheritance tax on their portion, if not married.
It is strongly advisable to make a will as soon as you have any assets which could include; property, savings, pension, jewellery, car, art. Even if you have no assets and have children under 18 it is critical their future guardians are outlined.
Ideally it should be when you are mentally able, having these conversations when you are very ill is harder and maybe not even be possible, due to physical or mental decline.
Online provider - Farewill
Many charities have teamed up with Farewill to offer free wills
Online provider - Beyond Life
The institute of professional will writers
Find a qualified solicitor
DIY will kits
Free wills from cancer research
Many other charities offer free wills
Government search for will or probate
Government will advice
Institute of professional will writers guide to making a will