Making a will is a great way to help secure your spouse’s or civil partner’s future. It is particularly important if assets are owned separately. Without a will then your spouse or civil partner may only be entitled to the first £250,000 from your estate and the income from half of the remainder. If you have no will your estate passes under the rules of intestacy – to see our Intestacy Flowchart.
You can use your will to select who you would like to look after your children should you die. Wills can also be used to provide for your children’s futures by stating what is to happen to your assets. Similarly, you can provide for your grandchildren by setting up trust funds for their education etc.
If you are not married or in a civil partnership you would need a will to pass on your assets to your partner. For instance, couples often buy properties together but hold their own separate shares in it. To make sure your partner gains the benefit of your share it is necessary to cover this in your will otherwise it will pass through the intestacy rules – to see our Intestacy Flowchart.
You may be considering passing on a specific personal item or a financial gift to a friend, family member or charity. The only way to do this after your death is through your will.
Wills can also be used to protect the whole or part of your estate from care home fees (click here for more details). If you own or jointly own your own home then the whole or your share can be put into trust for your relatives so that it is not available for paying care home fees.
Any will you had in place prior to your divorce will be affected by the divorce. For instance, any gifts to your former spouse will fail as the law regards her as predeceasing you. However, until you are formally divorced then the terms of the will remain valid. The same applies to dissolutions of civil partnerships.
Marriage or civil partnership will cancel any previous will you have made unless it specifically provides otherwise. Therefore, unless you make a new will, your estate will pass under the rules of intestacy – to see our Intestacy Flowchart.
Wills remain a very good way to mitigate against inheritance tax. Robert or Jane will be happy to talk through the options with you.