Do you need a Will?

Lois Kingsley asks- Do you need a Will?

I am writing this at 11.32 on Saturday 12th April 2020 to date there has been 8,958 deaths related to the coronavirus in the UK. As I am writing my heart is heavy and my sincere condolences go to anyone who has lost loved ones more often than not without the opportunity to say goodbye.

These are unprecedented times and we are all at risk.

I don’t know about you, but in the last few days, my timeline on Facebook seems to be filled with opportunities to make a will.

So, is this opportunism and scaremongering or do you need a will?

Honestly, my answer is generally yes I recommend executing a will but it can depend…

In the UK if you die without having a valid will your property, possessions and money (your estate) will be distributed in accordance with the rules of intestacy. Under these rules only spouses, civil partners and other close relatives can inherit.

It is my opinion if the total value of your money, property and possessions exceeds £325k you need a will or at least need to consider your situation with an expert … but what if the value of your estate is less than that?

Commonly houses are owned jointly by couples/cohabitants and as such if one of you should die a property owned as joint tenants passes automatically in full to the survivor – by passing any will and the rules of intestacy.

So, if you are a nuclear family i.e. married parents with children arguably you might think you are ok to rely on the rules of intestacy … but under the rules of intestacy your husband would only inherit the first £270k of the value of your estate with any balance being divided between your children.

So, say your home was worth £300k and you owned it jointly with your husband.  Should you die, yes, the property would pass in full to your husband, but so would the whole liability for any mortgage.  As he only receives the first £270k if you husband wanted to repay a mortgage of say £245k he would only be left with £25k as the rest would go to your surviving children. If you are happy with that then possibly you don’t need a will but think carefully – maybe think of it in reverse would you be happy with that should your husband die? If not, you, and your husband, need wills.

Are you a cohabiting with a long-time partner? Under the rules of intestacy, they would not inherit any of your possessions, property or money from you. Are you happy with that? If not, you need a will.

Are you in a second marriage or a blended family – if so under the rules of intestacy your husband would inherit the first £270k of your estate to do what they like with, money which could be yours from before the marriage? Are you happy with that? If not, you need a will.

In fact, my view is the only time that not having a will could work is if you are a single parent of adult children and you want your estate to be divided between them equally on your death… but consider even in these circumstances what if one child has additional needs or if you want any control over how the money is spent – if either of these circumstances apply you need a will.

To ensure that your estate goes to whom you want in the shares you want it to you need a will.

But maybe the starting point if you do not have a will and you are unsure who would inherit from you is to go to you can find out who will inherit your money, property and possessions if you should die without a will under the rules of intestacy – if you are contents with the outcome great if not you need a will.

Finally remember many solicitors, including myself, offer free advice so why not just ask to make sure.

Lois Kingsley

Kingsley Solicitors




Share this...
0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *