A Will is a means by which a person may set out their wishes in respect of their estate in the event of their death. It might detail the deceased’s wishes for funeral arrangements and go into as much or as little detail as required, perhaps even detailing music and a venue for the wake!

However, the main reason for a Will is to set out how one’s estate is to be handled and eventually distributed. It is normal to appoint an executor to the estate who has authority to act in accordance with the terms of the will. This might be a family member or a professional person, such as a solicitor. If the latter, fees will be payable.

Of course, if there is no will, how your estate is distributed is dependent upon law and in general terms, in England and Wales, if you are married, your spouse will inherit the first £250,000 after tax with the remainder split between the spouse and any children. If unmarried then your partner gets nothing and it all passes to your blood relatives. If you have children, a Will is the only way to appoint guardians of your choice. Otherwise, the State will decide. This might result in your children being wards of the State. Furthermore, if you remarry, any former spouse or blood relatives will lose any claim they may have had under a former Will.

Clearly, therefore, not having an up-to-date will is a bad idea.

To speak to our Wills and Estate Planning team contact us on 01628 507477.

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