It is a sad fact but seven out of every ten people in this country never make a Will.
This can cause a great deal of distress to those left behind and, in some rare cases, can even cause hardship.
To die without leaving a Will is to ensure that the law will take its course without reference to your personal preferences which may result in delays and expenses in dealing with the problems. At worse, others than those intended may well benefit, even distant relatives who you may not have seen for years.
You must be aged 18 years or older to affect a ‘Will’.
What happens if you die without making a Will?
If you die without making a Will you are said to die “INTESTATE” and the law will decide who will administer and benefit from your estate.
If you do not appoint Executors in a Will the law will appoint an administrator to administer your estate and distribute it under the “Laws of Intestacy”. All the legal cost will be met from your estate therefore; your relatives and any other beneficiaries will receive less than they might have done.
If you do not appoint Guardians for your minor children in your Will and there is no agreement on the responsibility for looking after children they may be placed in care by the Local Authority.
If you do not make a Will the law will decide how your estate is distributed. Some people believe – quite wrongly – that on death the surviving spouse will receive everything. In fact, if there are surviving children or relatives, only a portion of the estate passes to the surviving spouse, the balance is shared amongst the children or relatives.
In some unfortunate cases a husband or wife may in even be forced to sell assets (including their home) to pay relatives the money they are entitled to by law.
If you have no family and you have not made a valid Will all your belongings pass to the Crown.
Where no Will has been made the administration of your estate may be long and drawn out during which your loved ones may be left with no means of support.
In addition, subject to certain exemptions and reliefs, your estate may be liable to Inheritance Tax on your death. A properly drawn Will can be used as a means of mitigating your tax liability.