Importance of making a Will
05 May, 2016
The harsh reality
Following Prince’s unexpected death from unknown causes on 21 April 2016, it emerged that the star had no known Will. While there is still a chance one may be found, Prince’s lack of a Will demonstrates the importance of making one.
Some put off making a Will due to superstition, or just because they find it morbid, but it is incredibly important that you have made those provisions so that if something happened to you unexpectedly your family/friends would be provided for. Wills are not just for the rich and famous, even those with very little should have one. Without it your family will be left in an uncertain position, just as Prince’s family probably are.
The process of deciding who will inherit from Prince’s estate could potentially take years, which will only leave the family in further turmoil following his unexpected death.
What happens if you don’t have a Will?
Although Prince’s estate is of course being dealt with in the American court system, there are similar issues in the UK for inheritance when a person has not made a Will. It has been estimated that more than half the UK population have no Will. Although, here in the UK, the law sets out who is entitled to inherit from you if you are married, or you have immediate family, there is a lot that is left open to uncertaintly. For example, if you and your partner are not married, they will not automatically inherit your assets when you die, no matter how long you were together.
If you want to make sure family members, friends or even charities are provided for should you die unexpectedly, it is very important to create a Will. If you do not have any family, your estate will go to the Crown, and for many it is preferable that their estate goes to friends or charities. Alternatively, you might have immediate family who you don’t want to benefit from your estate, and having a Will allows you set this out, and prevent unintended recipients benefiting from your money.
It is also really important to have a Will if you have children. Without explicit instructions your children could end up in social care, regardless of any other family members that may be able to look after them. It is often assumed that grandparents or other close relations will gain custody, but that is not always the case. Setting out your wishes in a Will can help ensure your children are in safe hands.
Keep it up to date
Review your Will regularly and keep it up to date. You might, for example, find that the executor of your Will, or your beneficiaries, are no longer the same a few years down the line, so it is important to keep on top of it. It may also be the case that your circumstances have changed and your estate is now worth more, or less, than £250,000, in which case the rules surrounding automatic inheritance would change.
How to make a Will, or update an existing one
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