Pam Douglas is a solicitor with local firm Wainwright & Cummins. Each month she takes a common enquiry and asks one of her colleagues from the relevant department to answer it for our readers
This month, we’re tackling the question of why wills matter and my colleague, Aneesha Bhunjun, head of our probate team, answers it below:
Creating a will is one of the most important processes that you can engage in for both yourself and your family. A will is a legal document by which a person, known as the testator, expresses their wishes as to how their estate is to be distributed on their death. They appoint one or more people, known as executors, to manage the estate until its final distribution.
Recent studies have shown that about two-thirds of adults living in the UK have not made a will. If you die without leaving a will, then you have died “intestate”.
When this happens, the intestacy laws of the state where you live determine how your estate is distributed on your death. Because of these laws, some of your closest family members or friends could be left without the right to inherit. This becomes emotionally stressful when they consequently have to apply to court to remedy financial difficulties that are created by the absence of a will.
A major difficulty of not having a will arises if you are cohabitating, with or without children. The Law Society estimates that more than one million couples with dependent children are living in the UK, so this is a serious matter for many people. Cohabitation does not automatically give your partner the same rights in a will as marriage or a civil partnership. If you and your partner are not married while living together, then there are no guarantees that your partner will receive any of your estate on your death unless you write a will.
In addition to organising your estate for your close friends and family members, other benefits of writing a will include deciding who will take care of your children upon your death if they are minors, and making gifts and donations to loved ones. Therefore, if you don’t already have a will, then you should look into writing one as soon as possible.
A quick, simple, and convenient way to obtain a will is to create one on www.tenminutewill.co.uk.
After answering a multiple choice questionnaire and entering your information, you can pay for, print, and sign your will without needing a solicitor. TenMinuteWill also provides a free document review service, unlimited free rewrites, a free attestation checking service, and more.
You can also download will writing forms from WH Smith on their website and use them to help yourself write one. They offer over 200 solicitor-approved downloads of varying costs to meet your legal needs.
Writing a will can be complex. Small errors in the wording can cause problems for your executors or in how your estate is distributed. Occasionally it is best to consult a solicitor who specialises in wills. Whatever option you choose, it is good to have a will in the end and secure the best possible outcome for your friends and loved ones.
You con contact the team at Wainwright & Cummins here.