The importance of having a Will
Creating a Will requires you to consult with legal professionals in order to ensure the document is valid and speaking to Kent tax advisors about how to reduce your Inheritance Tax liability. As such it can cost in the hundreds of pounds – which is why some people neglect to make one. Others assume that because they’re married, they don’t need a Will, as they want everything to go to their spouse.
While in some cases being married and not having a Will can work out the way you intend, most people won’t find that this is the case. Those who have children, for example, may want to leave something directly to them regardless of what their estate is worth.
The value of your estate
Without a Will, the rules of intestacy apply. Under these rules, if you’re married with children, your spouse will inherit up to the value of £270,000, and any personal belongings regardless of their value. So, if your total estate is valued at £245,000, your spouse will inherit everything with nothing passing to your children.
If your estate is worth more than £270,000, your spouse gets the first £270,000 plus an absolute interest in half of any remaining value, with the other half passing to any children. If your estate is worth £300,000 then, and you have three children, your spouse gets £270,000 plus half of the remaining £30,000 – that’s £15,000. The remaining £15,000 is split between the three children – £5,000 each.
This may not be a satisfactory solution for many people, who might wish for their children to inherit more than they would be entitled to under the rules of intestacy. As such, making a Will would be vital if you want your wishes to be followed.
If you are not married or in a civil partnership, under the rules of intestacy your partner would not inherit anything. Inheritance passes directly to your children, or other eligible next of kin should you not have any children. Again, a Will offers you the chance to protect the interests of your partner, as you can choose what is left to them.
If there is no Will, people who you may want to benefit from your wealth may not be able to do so. For instance, relations by marriage, close friends, carers and nominated charities would not have any right to your estate. If, therefore, you want to provide for specific organisations, or people who aren’t blood relations, a Will is necessary to make these wishes clear.
To ensure you aren’t caught out, it’s advisable to make a Will. If you are the beneficiary of a Will or are entitled to part of an estate under the rules of intestacy, get in touch with a Kent accountant for probate services today for advice.