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Do I Need a Will?

More than half of UK adults do not have a Will, are you one of them? If you do not have a Will, or your Will is invalid or unclear, this can lead not only to unintended consequences, but a lot of heartache, upheaval and potential cost for your loved ones in trying to resolve matters after your death.

Here are our top reasons for having your Will drafted by a suitably qualified Solicitor:

  1. Avoid dying Intestate whereby the law decides who inherits your estate
  2. Ensure that your loved ones and the people close to you are provided for on your death in accordance with your wishes
  3. Retain control over who deals with your estate after your death by appointing Executors
  4. Decide who is appointed as Guardian for your minor children
  5. Reduce Inheritance Tax liability
  6. Avoid future legal disputes between family members

The below case studies are examples of the potential consequences of dying without leaving a valid Will:

Single person

John, an elderly gentleman, is widowed and has no children or other known relatives. John is particularly fond of animals. He has been unwell for a few years and his neighbours have cared for him during this time. John would like to leave his property and money to be divided between his neighbours and favourite animal charity. John did not get around to preparing a Will and therefore when John dies his estate passes to the Crown. His neighbours and the charity receive nothing.

Unmarried couple

Peter and Sue are not married but have been living together in Peter’s house for 20 years. Peter is divorced and has two children from his marriage. If Peter dies without leaving a Will his estate will pass to his children and Sue will receive nothing. Peter wants Sue to be able to continue to live in his property for her lifetime but by not preparing a Will this cannot be guaranteed. Peter’s aims can be achieved by preparing a Will to include a Trust.

Second marriages

Anna is a widow. Anna has two children from her first marriage and one step-son from her second marriage. When Anna dies without leaving a Will her estate is divided equally between her two children. Anna’s step-son receives nothing and seeks to make a claim against Anna’s estate for financial provision. This unfortunately causes a breakdown in relationship between the two sides of the family.

Couple with young children

Chris and Emma are in their thirties and own a property together. Their daughter, Evie, is 18 months old. Chris and Emma both sadly die in an accident. Neither of them made a Will or alternative arrangements to appoint a Guardian for Evie. This means that Emma’s sister has to make an application to the Court to be appointed as Evie’s Guardian.

Get in touch

It is always important to seek advice from an experienced law specialist to discuss your circumstances and consider the different options available to you.

If you wish to speak to a member of our Private Client team if you have questions such as this, please call us on 01323 727321 or email us on info@hartreade.co.uk. We offer appointments at any of our offices in Eastbourne, Meads, Polegate or Hailsham. We can also offer home or hospital visits where required.

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Please note the above is for information purposes only and is intended to be a short summary.  It should not be treated as a comprehensive guide and should not be acted on without qualified legal advice.