While 2013 may be well under way, there is still time to make an important resolution – the drafting of a will.
It is estimated that around half of adult Britons have yet to make a will, even though failure to do so can cause difficulties for relatives left behind who then have to sort out their loved one’s estate, which may include complicated property and financial issues.
Although intestacy laws apply where there is no will, these are very specific about the order in which spouses and family members inherit, and the proportion of an estate that goes to them – arrangements that may differ greatly from the deceased person’s own intentions for their estate.
And if someone dies without making a will when they are cohabiting, their partner, with whom they may have had a relationship for many years, will be excluded from inheriting under intestacy laws.
Therefore, making a will, and updating it when necessary – for example when you marry, have a child or divorce – is a vital tool for both passing on assets in the way that you wish and for avoiding the unnecessary difficulties and distress caused by intestacy.
Working with solicitors experienced in drafting wills and estate planning will also help to address potentially complex issues, such as possible claims against the estate, and ensure that a will is as tax-efficient as possible.
For most people, making a will is a simple process, which is often less expensive than you would think. Furthermore, the cost will be repaid many times over in terms of reducing the time and expense involved in dealing with an estate when there is no will.
For more information on making and revising a will, please visit our website or contact one of our fee earners.