This article has been written to help explain some of the common myths about making your Will. Most people understand the importance of having a Will, however, approximately 59% of the adult population do not have an up to date one in place.
We regularly hear these common myths when speaking with our clients and their families:
“Wills are only for the elderly or ill”
Whilst Wills are definitely more urgent with the elderly or ill, they are still incredibly important for everyone who is over 18 and has the mental capacity to make one. Putting off making a Will increases the risk of leaving it too late to make one.
A Will is especially important if you have minor children as it allows you to choose who you would like to care for them if you were to die.
“Everything will go to my partner anyway”
There are some situations where this may be correct, but do you know if it is for you? If you die without a Will the ‘rules of intestacy’ will apply and your Estate will be distributed to your relatives according to the intestacy flowchart.
If you are married or in a civil partnership and you have no children when you die, your Estate will pass to your spouse or civil partner. The same applies for couples who have children and their total Estate value is under £250,000. If it is over this, the estate is split between your children and your spouse or civil partner. For everyone else, the situation becomes much more complicated.
Intestacy does not bode well for unmarried couples as it does not recognise the relationship, meaning that your partner would receive no automatic benefit from your Estate. The concept of ‘common law marriage’ is a myth and has no legal basis.
“My family will just sort everything out once I’ve gone”
If you die without a Will, unfortunately, your family will not be able to distribute your Estate as they choose. Your Estate would pass according to the rules of intestacy, which is governed by the law.
The only way to guarantee that your assets pass to who you choose after your death is to write your Will.
“I don’t own my home, so I don’t have anything to leave in a Will”
You don’t have to be rich, or even own your own home to make a Will; however, the majority of people do have something of value by the time they die whether it be money, jewellery or even sentimental items. A Will is the only way to ensure these assets end up where you want them to.
Making your Will is more than distributing assets; it also allows you to appoint Executors and Guardians as well as detailing any funeral wishes.
“Making your Will is complicated”
This is a common misconception and, once written, clients often tell us it was much more straightforward than they were expecting. Here at Trusted Law, we offer flexible appointments at a time to suit you, including home visit appointments, office appointments or video call appointments. We offer professional advice every step of the way and explain the process without all of the legal jargon.
“Making your Will is morbid”
Death is still seen as a taboo subject and people often find it uncomfortable to talk about. This doesn’t mean that making your Will has to be a sad or negative experience for you. On the contrary, knowing that your Will is in place and your loved ones are protected can provide much needed peace of mind.
“My debts will die with me”
Sadly, this is not true. If you have any debts outstanding at the time of your death, these will have to be paid out of your Estate.
“I already have a Will, so I don’t need a new one”
It’s great that you already have your Will in place, but do you know where it is? Have your circumstances changed since you made it? Does it still do what you want it to?
We recommend you review your Will every 3 to 5 years, or sooner if you have a change in your circumstances. These changes could be due to marriage, divorce, birth of new children or grandchildren, death of a beneficiary or coming into some money. It is important to ensure that your Will matches your current situation and is also up to date with any changes in the law.
“Once I’ve written my Will, it can’t be changed”
This is something we hear quite often, but thankfully it’s not true. Provided you still have the mental capacity to make a Will, it can be revoked or re-written at any time – and in certain circumstances, it is encouraged (see the above)
“I need a solicitor to write a Will”
Whilst it is recommended that you use a professional to write your Will, it doesn’t need to be a solicitor. Here at Trusted Law, we are specialist in Wills and Estate Planning and have many years of experience in writing Wills. We are legally trained and qualified and for added peace of mind, we are members of the Society for Will Writers. This means you can be sure that we are properly trained, insured and ultimately safe to do business with.
We hope that this has helped to explain some of those common myths about making your Will. Here’s a link to our Will Writing page to provide more information: https://trustedlaw.co.uk/services/will-writing/
If you haven’t yet written a Will, need to write a new one or just have some questions about making your Will, feel free to get in touch; we are always happy to have an informal chat. Please feel free to contact us on 01953 711950 or firstname.lastname@example.org