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Everyone should have a will

Everyone should have a will

Everyone should have a will, yet only 1 out of 3 of us actually gets round to it.  And a fair number of those are picking up a pack from a local stationery shop and doing it themselves. This may be okay if you have fairly simple arrangements, but for those of us who have children from previous marriages, or are unmarried with children, then the best way must be the professional way! This article discusses the important factors to consider when making arrangements for what happens when you die.

Choosing an Executor

There’s a lot to decide when you’re considering the practical matters of your own mortality.  Who are you going to choose as your executors?  Most of us will choose those who are closest to us – spouse or other members of our family.  We can of course choose a professional, who would know exactly what to do without emotion getting in the way, but would also impose a hefty fee.

Guardians for Your Children

Are you going to appoint guardians for your young children?  In most cases, there will be a surviving  parent, but sometimes there won’t be, so appointing guardians becomes crucial, maybe even a couple of choices just in case those that are your first choice have circumstances that mean it’s not possible at the time.


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Dying Intestate

If we don’t leave a will, then we are said to have died ‘intestate’ and the laws of intestacy will kick in.  There are different rules for those who are married with children and for those who are married without.  Unmarried couples, however, have no rights over each other’s estates; although, it has been considered whether this should change.  We’ve talked here before about the Law Commission’s recommendations, but nothing has changed yet; although, in a recent court case, an unmarried partner successfully became entitled to her deceased’s partner’s occupational pension, even though he had not nominated her.

Leaving a will generally means the freedom of choice

If we leave a will, then generally speaking, we can decide who we leave what to.  However, if reasonable provision has not been left for certain dependants, then the court can override under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

Getting it Done Right

One of the most compelling reasons for employing a professional to sort out your will is the stories you hear about wills failing through really silly mistakes – it not being witnessed for example, or worse, not signed.  A professional would not allow errors such as these and would ensure that if you’re the 1 out of 3 who has decided to do the right thing, then at least what you’ve done is valid.

Over to You…

Do you know what the difference is between the rules of intestacy in England and Wales when someone dies with a spouse and children and where someone dies with a spouse but no children?

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