FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why do I need a will?
Making a will is the only way to make sure that your wishes are carried out after your death. If you have not made a valid will, your property will pass under the laws of intestacy.
This may have the following consequences:-
• Your property may go to people you do not want to benefit
• Your estate is likely to take longer to finalise than if you had made a will
• Your beneficiaries may not be able to draw any money from the estate
• It may lead to distress and arguments amongst your relatives
Why do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney?
If you suddenly become seriously ill or incapacitated in a car accident or you had a stroke or heart attack, your property could do into
lock-down. It might be necessary for your family to make a costly time-consuming application to the Court of Protection to appoint someone to manage your affairs. If no one can access your bank accounts, activate your insurance cover or continue to run your business, your financial position and that of your dependants could quickly become serious. Choosing a trusted person to take control of your affairs, whilst you are unable to deal with them, gives peace of mind and security to you and your loved ones. It is also essential though to register your Lasting Power of Attorney with the Office of the Public Guardian as otherwise the process can take up to 10 weeks at just the point when you need your trusted person(s) to handle your affairs. The same is true for your health and welfare. Do you want the doctors to be the only ones who can make decisions about your treatment? If you are not able to give instructions this is what will happen unless you have a registered Lasting Power of Attorney in place.
I am single and I don’t have much property, why bother to make a will?
Nevertheless, you may wish for your estate to be distributed amongst your relatives, friends and charities of your choice in the proportions that you specify.
It also ensures that your loved ones are not faced with the stress of an intestacy (where you die without a valid will) at a very difficult time.
I am married/in a civil partnership. Surely, everything will go to my partner anyway?
You cannot rely on this. Your brothers, sisters and parents may have claims against your estate. Under the intestacy rules, your children will have a right to part of your estate. This happens where you have children of a first marriage and a second marriage partner.
If you are living as an unmarried couple, your surviving partner could receive nothing at all, even if you have been living together for many years. They will not inherit your property if you do not leave a will. They may have to bring a court action for maintenance and the court may not award them as much as you would have given them in a will.
Surely, I am too young and I don’t need to think about it yet do I?
It is never too early to make responsible financial decisions to safeguard your loved ones.
Can I decide who looks after my minor children in my will?
Yes. A will enables you to leave instructions for them to have guardians of your choice rather than leaving their welfare to chance.
This is particularly important for single parents and unmarried fathers who do not have parental responsibility for births before December 2003. A valid will nominating guardians prevents the situation where no one knows what you would have wanted and a court deciding the future of your children.
How often should I make a will?
If you have recently retired and made a will a long time ago, it is probably needs updating to include any additional grandchildren or to remove persons whom you no longer wish to leave anything to.
Ideally, you should review your will every 3-5 years and particularly if you have recently married, divorced, had children or come into a substantial inheritance.
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