Making a Will is very doable and can be a real benefit to you and your family. But there are some very common myths around making a Will which stop many of us from doing it. Our friends at Law Express have looked at dispelling some of these myths for you.
Taking care of your family
“It’s OK, I don’t need a Will, my wife / children will inherit everything.”
This is only partly true. If you die without making a Will, anything you solely own (not jointly owned assets) will pass to your relatives according to the rules of intestacy. (A set of rules, controlling what happens to someone’s estate, should they die without making a valid Will). Your spouse or civil partner will receive the first £270,000 and half of the remainder. And your children or grandchildren will receive the other remaining half.
“I’ve separated from my spouse so they won’t receive anything.”
Your spouse remains your spouse until you are divorced. It’s important that, if you separate, you make a Will. This will need to be reviewed once the divorce is final.
“I have a common law spouse and they will get it all.’
It is a common myth, that if you live with someone for over 6 months, they become your ‘common law spouse’ and have the same rights as if you were married. But this is not true. An unmarried partner has no right to inherit any property solely (not jointly) owned by you and has no rights under the intestacy rules. To make sure your partner receives part or all of your assets you MUST make a Will.
“I don’t have to worry about my debts, they all die with me.”
You may die but your debts don’t. Any debts which remain unpaid on your death will need to be paid from any money or other assets you leave behind. After payment of these, the remainder of your assets will then be divided according your Will or under the rules of intestacy.
Making a will even if you think you don’t need to
“I don’t have anything to leave.”
Many people say they have nothing. But you may have items of sentimental value that you would like friends or relatives to receive. This way, your Will can make sure these items are passed to those you would like to have them.
“All my assets are jointly owned.”
Generally, jointly owned assets are automatically inherited by the surviving owner. This is particularly true for bank and other savings accounts. But it may NOT be true for a jointly owned property. You may need to get more advice when it comes to any jointly owned property.
“My wife/children know my wishes.”
While your wishes may be known, you will save your family angst at a difficult time if these wishes are available in writing to guide them. From funeral wishes to who you would like to receive your most precious items, whether valuable or not. It can be a comfort to know what to next.
“If I make a will I will die!”
It’s a fact we all die. There is no data to suggest this will happen sooner if you have ‘sorted out your affairs’. Should this happen, it will be a comfort to your family and friends that you have made your wishes clear.
If you’d like to read more, please have a look at Law Express Fact Sheets in our library. You can also access all of this advice on the go on our app. The Foothold app is available for free download on Google Play Store and Apple App Store now.