August 03, 2017
I thought I would use our blog to introduce myself as Pudsey Legal's new Private Client specialist lawyer.
I have many years’ experience of advising clients on “getting their affairs in order”. This may mean making a Lasting Power of Attorney, a Will, or perhaps setting up a trust to protect the family home or a disabled relative. I am a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.
To start things off I will explain why it is important to consider making a Will.
What happens if I don’t make a will?
If you die without having made a Will, you are said to have died “intestate”, and as you have not made clear how you would like your estate distributed, there are legal rules which must be followed to distribute your estate.
The law says that if you are married or in a civil partnership with your partner, and also have children, then your partner will take the first £250,000 of your estate, plus half of the remainder, while the children will inherit the other half of the remainder.
If you have no partner, your children will take everything equally between them.
If you have no partner or children, then the next nearest relative or relatives will get everything, in the following order of priority:
If you have none of these relatives, then everything will pass to the Crown.
These days, there is really no such thing as a typical family. A couple may be married, in a civil partnership or just living together. They may have children from previous relationships, shared children, adopted children, or any combination.
Take Fred and Wilma – they have lived together for 15 years. They have no children together, but Wilma has a daughter from a previous relationship, whom Fred has brought up since she was 2 years old. When Fred dies, his entire estate passes to his brother Bill, who has not spoken to Fred for 20 years.
Barney and Betty, on the other hand, are married. Barney has four children from his previous relationship, and Betty has one child from hers. When Barney dies, there is only £200,000 in his estate and Betty inherits it all. Sadly, Betty dies just 6 weeks later, without having made a Will. Her daughter inherits everything.
The laws of intestacy can have some very unfair consequences. Making a Will can avoid a lot of family trauma.
Even if you have already made a Will, it is important to think about whether it is up to date. Family circumstances change constantly and even a small change could have a dramatic effect on an out of date Will.
If you do want any advice on any of the points raised in this blog, please do call to make an appointment to see me.