The Danger of Dying Without a Will
By Tim Bishop
It seems absolutely incredible that over absolutely 70% of the population does not have a will that is both accurate and up to date. Ensure that you do not end up as one of them - or you risk dying intestate (in other words without indicating who should inherit your property). Dying without leaving a will is highly likely to leave a very uncertain future for your loved ones and business partners. In the worst scenario, if you do die intestate, then the intestacy rules apply which set out how your property should be divided. In the absence of any close relatives, you could even find that under the intestacy rules your entire estate is left to the Crown. It is simply common sense that you make sure that you have a valid and up-to-date will, and you may be surprised to find that getting one drafted for you by an experienced wills solicitor is not as expensive as you might think.
However if you do you leave a valid will, you will keep some element of control over what happens to your assets after you pass away and can ensure that your wishes cover a number of issues such as:
a) You can make sure that there is proper provision for your friends and family alike.
b) You can ensure that your surviving spouse remains able to live in the family home.
c) You ensure proper financial provision for your partner, if you were not married.
d) You can choose somebody to look after any young children.
e) You are able to select who should look after your estate (known as an executor).
f) You can avoid disagreements as to how your property is split up between those you love. Lawyers are sadly coming across more and more disputes amongst families as to how the property by a loved one is distributed.
g) You are able to limit any tax payable out of your estate on your death. Failure to consider proper tax planning alongside your will can result in your estate having to pay significant amounts of tax.
h) You can remember particular friends and family by leaving them special gifts.
i) You can avoid disputes over your estate from first and second families.
j) You avoid your family might becoming caught up in unnecessary costs or delay.
Put your mind at rest and make sure you know where your property will go after you pass away by consulting a specialist wills solicitor who should be able to prepare a value for money simple will for you for a fixed fee.
Tim Bishop is senior partner of Bonallack & Bishop, a firm of UK wills solicitors with offices in the south-west, offering legal services to private and business clients. Tim has spearheaded the firm's expansion, seeing it grow by 1000% in the last 12 years. He is responsible for major and strategic decisions and sees himself as an entrepeneur who owns a law firm.