Will

I was recently reading an article in a national newspaper with the headline

30m UK adults have not made a Will

and I started to think why this was. We are continually being told by solicitors, Will writers and others that we should all have a Will and a Lasting Power of Attorney. But if this headline is correct, or even partially correct, there must be a reason. Is it apathy? Is it cost? Is it because you think you are invincible? Or is it because you do not actually need a Will?

First of all let us look at the law that applies, in England and Wales, where you die without a Will, as this might throw some light on this statistic. The law tries to provide for members of your family as if you had actually made a Will and this depends on who survives you. Where there is no Will or part of it is defective, resulting in a partial intestacy, your estate, on your death, will pass in accordance with the intestacy rules. These rules were, for deaths on or after 1 October 2014, amended by the Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Act 2014.

Where you die leaving no children your spouse/civil partner takes your whole estate.

If you have surviving children, your spouse/civil partner receives:

  • Your personal chattels absolutely
  • A fixed net sum (presently £250,000)
  • One half of the residue absolutely, and The children receive the remaining half share of residue.

 

If you do not have a surviving spouse/civil partner your children (or their children) will take your estate. If there are no children your estate passes to other relatives in a specified order. They are your parents; brothers and sisters (or their children); grandparents; uncles and aunts (or their children); and parents’ half-brothers and sisters (or their children). If there are none surviving your estate passes to the Crown.

So if you are happy for your estate to be dealt with as above then you may not need a Will. However, potential problems arise when:

  • You are survived only by children who are under the age of 18 – you will not have appointed anyone to look after them or Trustees to look after your estate that they will inherit.
  • You have a partner (who is not a spouse or civil partner) – your partner will receive nothing.

 

Of course, if you have a Will you can appoint Executors who will deal with the winding up of your estate, appoint Guardians to look after your minor children, make provision for specific gifts or gifts of money and make sure that your estate passes to those you wish it to pass to.

Finally, on the Lasting power of Attorney front, I am 62 years of age and feel as fit as a fiddle. I don’t need a Lasting Power of Attorney. Or do I?