This section tells you everything you need to know to begin drafting your Will. Below you will find a summary of what a Will is and why you need one. If you would like to find out more information, click on the relevant links to access more articles.
A Will is a written declaration setting out the way in which a person's property, assets and wealth is to pass on their death. It can also appoint a guardian for any children you may have who are under the age of 16 and appoint one or more executors, who carry out the instructions in your Will. If you die without a Will, the state decides who gets what, without regard to your wishes or your heirs' or dependants' needs.
It is important to make a Will because:
Having a Will is the only way to be sure that your estate is dealt with according to your wishes when you die. Without a Will, your assets may end up being distributed by prescribed rules. It is not the case, as many assume, that if a husband or wife dies their estate will always automatically pass to their spouse. In fact, a substantial amount may go to other relatives.
A Will ensures therefore that your estate is distributed as YOU would like it to be, and that your loved ones are properly provided for. It may also help to ensure that the people you leave your estate to do not have to pay more tax than absolutely necessary. If you are not married or in a civil partnership, it is even more important that you make a Will, particularly if you have a partner and/or children to whom you wish to leave many or all of your assets.
In unusual cases where your estate is beneath the prior rights limitand you want your spouse or civil partner to inherit everything, but anticipate a legal rights claim by your children or those acting on their behalf if you had made a will, it may be better for your spouse or civil partner if you died without a Will. If you are in this situation, you should seek early legal advice.