Making a Will is the only way to ensure that your wishes are carried out after your death. If you have not made a valid Will, your property will pass according to the Law of Intestacy.
This may not be what you would have wished. In any event it is likely to take longer to finalise than if you had made a Will. During this time your beneficiaries may not be able to draw any money from your estate. It can mean arguments and distress for relatives.
If you are a single person you will want your estate divided amongst friends, relatives and charities of your choosing and in the proportions you want.
If you are married don’t assume ‘my other half will get everything’. Brothers and sisters or parents may have a claim. Often your children have a right to part of your estate.
If you are living together but not married you may be treated as a single person and a surviving partner may get nothing at all. One thing you can be certain of, there will be argument and dispute at a time when the family should be coping with the loss of a loved one.
If you are a parent you should consider who would look after your children in the event of your death. This is particularly important in the case of one-parent families or unmarried parents living together.
A valid Will nominating guardians is invaluable in such cases. If no one knows what you would have wanted, the Court will decide on the future of your children and it may not be what you would have wished for. In extreme cases your children could be taken into local authority care while a decision of their future is made.
If you are retired maybe you made a Will a long time ago. It probably needs updating to include additional grandchildren or deletion of persons you no longer feel you wish to leave anything to.