Making a Will
MCP Solicitors advise all our clients to make a Will so that when they die their possessions can be properly distributed by those left behind according to the terms of the Will.
You should make a Will to ensure that everything you own goes to the people you want to receive it when you die. Without a Will you cannot be sure that your money will go to those who you wish to benefit. Your Estate could be given to unknown relatives or even the Treasury.
Do I need a Will if I am married or in a Civil Partnership?
Yes. It is not true that everything you own automatically passes to your partner. If you don’t make a Will and if you have children then your spouse/Civil Partner will only get £250,000 plus half of whatever is left. The children would get the rest.
This could mean that your home would have to be sold to pay the other beneficiaries. This can be avoided simply by making a Will.
What if I am not married or in a Civil Partnership and do not make a Will?
There is no automatic passing of property on death. Without a Will, the surviving partner would have to attempt a claim on the Estate. This would only have a chance of succeeding if you had been co-habiting for over two years, and even then success is not guaranteed.
How do children under 18 affect needing a Will?
You should make a Will if you have children under 18. This gives you the chance to appoint guardians.
How does owning property affect needing a Will?
You should make a Will if you own property. This is particularly true if you co-own property, either with your spouse/civil partner or with an outsider. It will be important to ensure that the way the joint property is owned (joint tenancy or tenancy in common) is suitable in your particular circumstances. Please visit the page on Buying Together for more information on methods of ownership.
Can a Will help with Inheritance Tax?
There are things that can be done to lessen the effect of Inheritance Tax, so you should consider making a Will if your total worth exceeds the nil-rate band for Inheritance Tax purposes (currently £325,000).
For more information please visit the page on Inheritance Tax.
What happens to my Will if I marry or remarry?
A marriage or civil partnership will revoke (cancel) a Will unless that Will is made in contemplation of that marriage or civil partnership and the appropriate wording has been put in the Will.
What changes in circumstances might affect my Will?
You need to review your Will if your circumstances change. Such changes might include:
- Birth of a child
- Buying a house
- Change of address
- Child coming of age
- Entering full-time residential care
- Going bankrupt
- Winning the lottery
You should also review your Will if any of the above changes happen to someone named in your Will, or if such a person dies.
How often should I review my Will?
You should review your Will at least every five years, and more frequently if there are changes in the law which would affect your Will, for example tax changes.
What happens to my Will if I Divorce or my Civil Partnership is dissolved?
The effect of either of these is to remove all mention of the former spouse or Civil Partner from the Will.
However, the Will itself is still a valid document. This usually means in practice that you will need to make a new Will at this stage.