Have you ever considered, what would happen to your estate and to your loved ones, should you die without a valid will in place?
Firstly, intestacy rules come into play. This simply means that there is a prescribed order in which your estate would be distributed should you not have a valid will be in place. You would be identified as dying intestate, leading to your estate being distributed to individuals you may not have wished to inherit.
Under intestacy rules, if you were in a relationship with someone, but not legally married, then your partner would not be entitled to anything. What impact would this have on them, is this something you would have wanted?
Should you die and your children are under the age of 18, they will need a guardian to be responsible for them. This would normally fall to someone else who has parental responsibility but if there is no one else, then it would be left to the Court to decide what is best. Whilst this decision is made, there is a possibility that children could end up in care. By having a will in place, this uncertainty can be resolved by appointing guardians who you trust and who you have taken time to consider how they would raise your children and where they would live. Leaving it to chance can lead to family disputes and heartache. It may be that your choice of guardian changes over time as both guardians and children get older and life requirements change.
If intestacy rules come into play due to the lack of a will, other issues can occur. Children who may be vulnerable due to addiction or simply make poor spending decisions, can suddenly be left a significant sum of money. How would they choose to spend it? By having a will in place, solutions can be put in place to protect the beneficiaries from themselves whilst still allowing them to inherit. The same considerations need to be given to children who may need care and assistance throughout their life due to health conditions or other vulnerabilities and where they are receiving benefits to support their living. If a will is not in place, and they qualify for an inheritance under the intestacy rules, then the sum of money could impact those benefits and potentially they could cease. Rather than your inheritance being used for holidays, hobbies, and extra support in their lives, it could be used to simply replace the benefits until such time as the money is gone.
These are just a few of the dangers we can all face should we choose not to protect our estates but there are many more. To find out how your estate could potentially be impacted without a Will please speak to your Adviser at Serenity.