The Importance of Having a Will

A will is a legal document which states a person’s (a testator) wishes as to how they wish for the estate to be distributed after their death and to appoint someone (an executor) will be in charge of such estate until such distribution is made. Many see the drafting and finalisation of a will a lengthy and daunting area, however Rivington Solicitors aims to make the process as simple and clear as possible.

Many feel that the making of a will is not necessary until later in life. Contrastingly, having a will is fundamental to ensure that your wishes are abided by upon your death. It is as result of this surety that we emphasise that having a will in place earlier on in life will avoid future discrepancies.

What happens if you die without a will

If you die without a will, there are certain rules that apply when distributing your estate. Such rules are known as ‘the rules of intestacy’. Those who benefit under the rules of intestacy are married or civil partners or other close relatives of the deceased. If a person is to die intestate, the rules of intestacy must be followed to distribute the estate. This means that you wishes may not be followed and that your estate upon passing, will not be passed onto those who you may wish to benefit.

We also wish to emphasise the importance of ensuring that your will is legal. If it is found that you will is not legal, the rules of intestacy will apply. Consequently, the life planning services at Rivington Solicitors ensure that such instances are avoided.

Financial considerations

The absence of a will can also have major financial burdens on those who are left to distribute the estate. If you are not married however you have a partner who you wish to benefit from your will, they will not be able to under the rules of intestacy. In turn, this means that they will be left with any of the financial burdens that remain after your passing.

Additionally, the creation of a will in the earlier stages of life means that there can be avoidance of Inheritance Tax payable at the distribution of the estate. A will can be drafted to minimise the Inheritance Tax due on the estate which will ease financial pressures on those who are benefit under the will.

Funeral and other wishes

One key factor to emphasise is that you may also illustrate your desires in your will. Although this cannot be legally enforceable, you can state your wishes regarding your funeral in your will. Such desires can be ideas such as stating whether you wish to be cremated or buried and where you wish for such action to be done. Many advise to include such factors in their wills even though they are not legally binding as they allow you to make it clear to others your exact requests.

Changing your will

Upon creating a will, you always have the option to alter such will. Thus, a will that you make does not always depict your final requests unless you agree for it to do so. Such alteration must be made in the formal way being a ‘codicil’ which is a legal document which is supplementary to your will that alters or explains the current will in place. The original will must not be altered directly as they may deem it to be invalid. If there is a change in circumstance, a codicil can be drafted to alter the original will or a new will can be made. It is key to remember that circumstances change and therefore once a will is created, you must ensure that any change in the way that you wish for your estate to be distributed must be reflected in a new will or a codicil.