• Andrea Mapstone

5 myths about Wills

People put off writing their Will for many reasons, sometimes this is because of the cost or trying to find the time to put aside, often ahead of other things which might seem more appealing. Unfortunately, there also seems to be a lot of Will writing myths which can convince people that they might not need to make a Will. We look at the top five Will writing myths and how these aren’t always true.

1 – “You don’t need to make a Will if you’re married, your spouse will inherit everything anyway.”

If you die without a Will the statutory rules of Intestacy will apply. These rules provide a stringent list about who will benefit from your estate and how much they should receive. If you’re married your spouse will be entitled to some of your estate but depending on your circumstances, they won’t necessarily receive all of it. If you have children, the intestacy rules will direct that your spouse receive a fixed ‘statutory legacy’ plus personal possessions and an interest in half the remainder. Depending on your personal wealth this may not be the inheritance you would expect or want your surviving spouse to receive.

2 – “If you don’t have anything to leave anyone there’s no point in having a Will.”

It is very unusual not to leave anything behind when you die. Even if you don’t think you have anything of great value to pass on now, you may receive an inheritance or even some unexpected wealth in the future. In any case, Wills are more than just a tool to direct who gets what from your estate when you die. It allows you to direct who has the power to sort out your affairs when you die, it can provide instructions on who should look after your children and your pets and who should receive sentimental items important to you. Without a Will in place all these decisions will be made using the fixed statutory intestacy without any reference to what you would have wanted. It is important to remember that the intestacy rules will not take into account some relationships like unmarried partners or step children, even if you would have wanted them to benefit.

3 – “Your loved ones can just decide what to do when you’ve gone.”

As well as providing a strict list of who should benefit from your estate when you pass away the intestacy rules will also direct who should deal with your estate when you’ve died. The intestacy rules categorise bloodline family into groups and don’t consider personal relationships or members of the family like unmarried partners or stepchildren. You may find that the intestacy rules give the power to administer the estate to someone you don’t really consider a “loved one”. Once someone has taken responsibility for your estate under an intestacy, they will not be able to deviate from the beneficiary list stipulated by the intestacy rules without leaving themselves at risk.

4 – “You’re too young to make a Will”

Anyone aged 18 and over can make a Will and it is always recommended to have a Will in place whatever your age. Your Will should be based on your current wishes and your current situation, so you know that things will be dealt with as you would like should the unexpected happen. If your circumstances change as you get older, you can always update your Will.

5 – “Making a Will is just tempting fate.”

Reassuringly, to date, there have been no known cases of anyone being killed by their Will.

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