- As long as you have mental capacity, from the age of 18.
- As soon as you have valued assets and/or people you care about is probably the right time to write a Will.
- If you don’t have a Will, assets may pass to the Crown.
- You can use a Will to prevent your assets being lost to your children should your partner remarry after your death
Most people in the U.K. are over 50 when they get around to writing a Will but it’s important to remember that none of us know what the future holds or how long we will live. The current Covid 19 pandemic has highlighted our fragility and made people think about their own mortality, something most of us would prefer not to dwell on. Even without the pandemic there are risks all around us and yet people often wait until someone they know, or are close to, dies or becomes seriously ill, before they start thinking about making a Will.
A Will places reduces uncertainty. There are many important reasons for making a Will. The main reason is to protect those you love in the event of your death.
It is not uncommon for people to assume that if they are married and they die without having made a Will (intestate) their entire estate will automatically be inherited by their spouse. This is not necessarily the case. If you die without a valid Will then those you leave are forced to rely on the Intestacy Rules (the law) to deal with your affairs and your estate may not go to the people you want. Indeed, it may revert to the Crown.
Without a Will, if you are married or have a civil partner and no children your estate will be inherited by your spouse/ civil partner. If you are married or have a civil partner and you have children, your spouse/civil partner will inherit your possessions and the first £250,000 of your estate, the balance to be shared with the children. If, however you and your partner have not married or joined by civil partnership, unless there is a valid Will in place, your partner does not have an automatic right to inherit your estate, regardless of the length of time you have been together.
It is possible to protect your family’s future further by setting up a Property Trust within your Will thereby ensuring you are leaving your property to those you love and that it will not pass to a future spouse of your partner by intestacy, or indeed get absorbed by care fees.
Obviously, if you have children under the age of 18, it is extremely important to make a Will, in which you can address the personal issues of nominating guardians who you would trust to love and care for your children when you are no longer here to do so. Life is uncertain, death arguably more so, a Will should be viewed as an important part of long-term planning to protect your loved ones.
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