Make a Will, not war
Make a Will
Everyone in the UK who is aged over 18 should make a Will, so that instructions are in place for their possessions and money in the event of their death. It’s a good idea to seek legal advice before you make a Will, to ensure that everything is included, its provisions are all legally binding and that there will be no ambiguity or other problems with the administration and distribution of your estate after you have died.
When you make a valid Will it remains in place until you die, unless you get married or make another Will to replace it. The most recently made Will is always the valid one; any previous versions will have no sway whatsoever. After getting married if you do not want your partner to automatically inherit your estate upon your death you’ll have to make a Will to this effect.
The estate of anyone who dies without making a Will is distributed according to the intestacy rules; these favour the deceased’s family in the following order:
- Spouse/civil partner
- Siblings or their children
- Half brothers/sisters or their children
- Uncles & Aunts or their children
- Half Uncles & Aunts or their children
It’s important to remember that unmarried partners or ex partners are not entitled to anything under the intestacy rules. Estates for which no legitimate heir can be found are kept by the crown. The intestacy rules seek the fairest outcome when no instructions have been left; however, this is not always practicable given peoples personal affairs, the best way to avoid unintended consequences is to make a Will that firmly outlines your wishes.
There are various ways to make a Will, many high street shops, supermarkets and online vendors now sell DIY Will writing kits for relatively low prices. These can be useful; however, it’s important to remember that a Will is an important legal document and you won’t be around to clarify its contents, so it needs to be clear and concise throughout and contain provisions for all possessions. A much better option for most people is to make a will with the assistance of an experienced solicitor or professional Will writer.
Solicitors are well regulated and likely to be highly knowledgeable about the required contents of a Will and appropriate language to use, but will considerably more expensive than most professional Will writers. These are not part of any formally regulated industry, so you’ll need to do plenty of research and be sure that you find a reputable one.
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