The importance of making a Will

April 28th, 2021

In an ever changing climate the need for a Will has never been of such importance. However, a staggering statistic has emerged recently that the number of people who have passed away without making a Will has more than doubled in the last 5 years.

So, why make a Will?

The importance of a Will is largely underestimated. Although entering into a Will is something a person may not like to think about, it is nonetheless the most important legal document you will enter into during your lifetime.It has been largely reported that if a person feels they are not wealthy enough, there is no need for a Will to be put in place. This could not be farther from the truth.Making a Will provides the Testator (person entering into a Will) with peace of mind that their estate, which they have worked so hard for, will pass in accordance with their wishes. It will also enable the right people to deal with the estate so that their wishes are fulfilled correctly.

What happens if there is no Will?

Well, this is where matters become complicated.When a person dies without making a Will, then this is known as dying intestate and the law takes charge. There are various problems with this, namely:

– Who will deal with the estate;

– To whom does the estate pass;

– An increased amount of time to deal with the estate because of the above; and

– Who looks after children if they are minors.

Just on the above points, it was recently reported that an individual who died intestate had 17 beneficiaries to benefit from the assets; most of whom the deceased had very little contact with over the years. In addition to this, it took almost 2 years for the estate to be concluded. Therefore, clearly having a Will would have ensured a smoother process and also allowed for the Testator to pass the estate to their chosen beneficiaries.

What if you are married or cohabiting, do you need a Will?

Where people are married and do not have a Will, if certain criteria are met under the rules of intestacy, then the estate will not always pass wholly to the surviving spouse; something that is not widely reported and can cause a number of problems in the future.A more common problem is if people are cohabiting. If there is no Will, then there is very little protection for the remaining partner.

The online world

Another important factor one needs to consider is what happens to accounts that are online (known as “digital assets”). In an age which is becoming increasingly reliant on technology, what happens if the person who dies does not have anything in place to deal with their online affairs post death; such as online banking, email, social media etc? As the law has not quite caught up with this, then it is imperative that the right advice is sought when making a Will to deal with these affairs.You can now see, in light of the above, the need for a Will has never been so important. If you wish to discuss the contents of this article, then please contact our Wills and Probate department on 01494 670 787 or by email at wills@brownssolicitors.co.uk