Current estimates suggest that approximately 30 million people (about 70% of the population) in the UK does not have a valid Will in place. Of the 30% of the population that do have Wills, many have not reviewed the terms of their Wills for years and many Wills could now be outdated, or even invalid in some circumstances, due to changes in personal circumstances and/or changes to tax laws and later life care funding.
If you do not have a valid Will in place and die then the State decides who inherits your assets and this division may not be in accordance with your wishes had you taken the time to write a Will setting these out.
It is also important to take professional advice upon the terms of your Will as recent changes to in tax law and later life funding may well affect the way in which you should divide your assets in order to make the best use of the available exemptions and reliefs. There is an old saying “you don’t know what you don’t know” and therefore cannot make provision for “what you don’t know” when drawing up your Will.
Sadly, it is frequently the case that “what you did not know” when drafting your Will without professional advice, only comes to light after your death, by which time it is too late for you to do anything about it. Your beneficiaries are therefore left with the potential consequences of additional tax burdens and later life care fees not to mention assets passing to those you would have preferred not to benefit to the detriment of those that you would have liked to have benefited.
Even if you have little in the way of assets, but you have children, then it is vitally important that you appoint guardians for minor children within a Will in order that in the unfortunate event you pre-decease your children whilst they are still minors, people that you trust as guardians are appointed to look after your children in such circumstances. If guardians are not appointed in a Will then it is left to the State to decide who looks after your children and this generally means that the children are cared for by Social Services and possibly a variety of foster carers chosen by Social Services and not necessarily by members of your family.
If you would like further advice or information regarding writing a Will then please do not hesitate to contact us on 01202 877400 and we will arrange for a member of our Private Client team to discuss your requirements with you in detail.