Writing a will
The Financial Services Authority does not regulate will writing.
If there is no ‘will’ in place when you die, your estate is subject to the ‘rules of intestacy’. This means it is divided up according to strict rules and it’s possible that some people you would wish to benefit may not do so - for example if you live with a partner but are not married, under the rules of intestacy they may not be entitled to anything.
Even if married with children then, without a will, your spouse is only entitled to the first £125,000, plus personal chattels (car, furniture, pictures etc) – plus a ‘lifetime interest (income only) in one-half of the residue. You can imagine if you live in a property worth over £125,000 this is going to give rise to complications.
If you don’t have a spouse or children or parents at the time of your death, or brothers or sisters still alive, aunts and uncles then the whole estate goes to the ‘crown’.
So for a lot of people, making a will is the most obvious and cheapest way to plan for the future and the fairest way to provide for loved ones. Yet, it's a fact that a large percentage of the UK population do not have a will.
There is no legal requirement to use a solicitor to make a will. However there are circumstances where seeking legal advice would be highly recommended e.g.:
- If your estate or bequests are complicated.
- If you have remarried and have children from a previous marriage.
- If you have assets, e.g. property or investments abroad.
- If the value of your estate exceeds £325,000 (nil band rate for 2010/11).
- If you will be providing for someone with mental or physical disabilities.
Whilst we are not personally involved in Will writing, it is an essential part of everyone’s financial planning and we will be happy to recommend the services of a local solicitor. At a cost of around £80 writing a will could save your family many pounds - and much worry.
Everyone should have a Will and this should be reviewed at least every seven years, or more often if there is a change in your personal circumstances.