Think Carefully When Writing Your Will
We all want to see our efforts in life yield fruit. Unsurprisingly, we squeeze every ounce of pleasure from the money we earn from the sweat of our brow (or typing) in the case of computer workers). Surprisingly, two thirds of UK adults don’t seem to care what happens after they die, because none of these people have wills, and probate comes into play.
If you want a naughty nephew snorting up your money, or your unfaithful partner sharing your shirts with their secret lover that’s fine and dandy. Buying new shirts is not sufficient reason to write a new will. However these six stages in life arguably are as we explain below.
5 Top Reasons for Having a Will
After you die (we all do sometime) somebody else is going to get a right to administer your estate. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland this is called a grant of probate. In Scotland it’s a grant of confirmation.
‘Probate’ comes down to us from the Middle English word ‘Probatum’ meaning something proved. This is more easily achieved if you provide the proof yourself by writing a will when one of these 5 alarm bells ring.
1. You enter into a cohabiting relationship with someone you love. That person will inherit nothing from you unless you nominate them as an heir in your will
2. You marry officially. Your spouse automatically becomes your sole beneficiary unless you write a will describing how other people will benefit
3. You break up, and separate or divorce. However your married partner remains your sole heir unless you leave a will because of the law of intestacy
4. You produce children during the stormy relationship. If you die while they are young, your married partner remains their guardian unless you will otherwise
5. You die after your life partner develops a need for constant care. Your will could assure they get this by leaving your estate in a temporary trust
It therefore follows a will needs updating (if you already have one) at each of these 5 life stages.
More Good Reasons Why You May Need a Solicitor
In an ideal world you could choose a family member, or trusted friend to take care of the probate by distributing your estate. However, if you have disgruntled relatives and demanding kids things could get nasty if you appoint the wrong person.
That’s because executors are not allowed to ‘step down’ once they have commenced their duties, since they are already ‘intermeddled in your estate’.
If they walk away anyway, this could turn out a disaster, with the people you love unable to receive the money you left them while an expensive court case plays out.
A solicitor could help you draft a solid will that withstands these challenges. And then share your estate according to your wishes for a fixed fee. This is a reliable option if you don’t want a naughty nephew snorting up your money, your unfaithful partner sharing your shirts with their secret lover, or some other family disaster you wish to avoid.