It is a difficult time when a death happens in a family. If some assets are in your name, it can be tough for your family to deal with the legalities of your assets after you pass away if a valid Will is not left behind.
In such times, your next of kin can be unsure about their share is from the assets which you left behind. They may not even know if you have a valid Will or not. This means they will have to spend time and money finding out.
If you have not made a Will, then your estate will be distributed as per the rules of intestacy. If certain eligible members of your estate are unhappy with the share of the estate they have received, then they will hire lawyers and will fight to get their own command over your entire estate or to gain the administrative power in dividing your assets amongst themselves.
If you make a Will then all this confusion and stress can be avoided. A valid Will can directly lead the way for probate and all the deserving heirs can get their share of the estate in accordance to the Will.
If you don’t make a Will then your next generation will have to bear the burden of your managing the finances, the funeral and then of dealing with the court.
If you are divorced or a widow/widower when you pass away, then your children become orphaned. If they are very young then their custody is given to one of your relatives by the court. This can also be avoided by making a Will. Such are the reasons why it is essential for you to make a Will. Let’s take a look at them in more detail.
Deciding who Inherits
By making a Will you ensure that all your wealth, property and other assets are inherited by the deserving beneficiaries. If you don’t make a Will then after your death the court will give you a decision on who will inherit your assets. Then, under the Law of Intestacy, 1925 all your assets are divided amongst all your legal heirs by a specific set of rules.
As the owner of your property, you will know exactly what how the assets of the property should be divided between your heirs. If you don’t have a Will, it is unlikely that the court will distribute your estate as you would have done. This procedure may also prove unjust to some really deserving people who would inherit only a small proportion of your property because of the division done by the court.
Also, if you are unmarried and have no relatives then all of your estate will go to the government if you have not made a valid Will
Thus, by making a Will you have the power to decide on the portion every heir should inherit depending on their relation with you. A Will also allows you to state who will inherit your pets and other personal belongings.
In the Will, you will also be able to appoint an executor who will administrate and supervise the entire process of probate wherein the division of your assets will be taken care of. If you don’t appoint an executor then the court will appoint an executor or an administrator, which again could potentially cause problems amongst your relatives.
Making a Will can be done fairly cheaply, and ensures you will not have to face the cost of lawyers and courts which would have to be spent by your next of kin so as to inherit your estate if you don’t have a valid Will made.
Making a Will prevents your estate from falling into wrong hands. Thus, you can do justice to the deserving heirs of your estate by ensuring they get right portion of your estate.
Inheritance tax has to be paid by your legal heirs after they inherit your property. In case of the absence of a Will, the court divides the property of the deceased based on its own grounds and therefore every inheritor is compelled to pay some tax while inheriting their share of property.
But by writing a valid Will you can remove this burden from your loved ones who may not have the finances to pay taxes while inheriting your property. It is even possible to eliminate the tax altogether in some situations.
Alternatively, you may decide to set aside some money for paying the tax so that your heirs won’t be required to remove a part of their share of assets which they will inherit to pay the inheritance tax.
This allows you to provide more money for the people you want to provide to rather than paying it to the government.
Appointing legal guardians for your children
It is essential for you to make a Will if you have children who are under the legal age. In the Will you can appoint a guardian who can look after your children in case you happen to pass away.
If you fail to do so then the court will take the situation into its own hands and will allot the custody of your children to a foster family. However, they might not choose your desired secondary carer for your children as you would have done.
In some cases, the foster family may not be as good as you in taking care of your children which may cause issues for your children.
To avoid this, you can entrust the future of your children in the hands of someone who will love them and will take care of them just as you would have done after your demise. There may also be situations where your partner might not get custody of your children; to ensure such complications don’t arise you need to make a Will for the better future of your children.
Most people choose to appoint a family member as a guardian for their children, especially if the children are very young. With older children who have not yet reached eighteen, friends who live close by and share a similar lifestyle to your family are often appointed as guardians.
It is recommended to appoint two guardians in your Will, who are partners and live together, because this will provide your children with a settled family environment during the difficult time of your death.
The guardian appointed by you in the Will has to take care of the entire upbringing of your child or children. They will then take care of their day to day life.
It is a good idea to set up a trust for your children’s inheritance if they are under the age of eighteen. This allows you to have some control over the money which you may pass on to them after your death.
You can lay down certain terms and conditions which will protect your assets from getting used up irresponsibly by your children when they may be young and have a frivolous attitude.
This will help in making long term provisions for tour children. So all the estate which Will pass on to them from you Will be kept secure with the trust until your children mature and grow old enough to decide how to use the funds responsibly.
The manner in which you would like your children to be brought up can also be explained in a letter to the trustees of your assets to ensure your wishes are taken into account and made clear to the chosen guardians.
In your Will you can include any part of your estate which you would wish to give away to particular organisations or charities. You can donate a specific amount of money or even a valuable item, for example a piece of jewellery.
Don’t forget that any charitable donations you make in your Will are free from Inheritance Tax. Thus you won’t be required to make arrangements for the payment of taxes of those items which you will give away.
Statistics say that 60% of deceased people do not get a proper funeral, thus if you have any final wishes regarding your funeral then that can also be written in your Will.
You might wish to be buried or cremated and you may wish for it to happen in some specific locality. All of this can be written in the Will and then it legally has to be carried out in that specific manner.
You can also mention any particular hymns or readings which you want to be said during your funeral.
By this you can ensure a proper funeral for yourself and can keep separate money for that which will not be a burden on any of your relatives. Thus making a Will is very important.
For Great Northampton Lawyers Tollers Solicitors are one of the leaders in the game, they can deal with anything from personal injury claims to contesting a will.