Nearly 30% of people aged 55+ have apparently not made a Will.* If we are not wealthy, many of us often consider that a Will is not necessary and that everything will be sorted out under the intestacy rules which will apply in these circumstances. This is not a good point of view for many reasons some of which are highlighted below:
- Under the intestacy rules, grandchildren are unlikely to inherit anything from the estate unless their parents have already died.
- If separated but still legally married, the ex-partner could inherit everything irrespective of how long you have not lived together
- The children could receive nothing if you are not married or in a civil partnership with their mother or father
- If there are no executors appointed under a valid Will, professional adviser costs could deplete much of the estate
- If there are no living relatives, the Crown could take everything
- A Will caters also for your intentions regarding items without a monetary value. For example, determining who should look after your pets.
- A Living Will would set out your wishes regarding healthcare should you become terminally ill.
When you apply for an Equity Release plan, the adviser from a specialist advisory firm like Bower will remind you of the importance of making a Will and of keeping it regularly updated to take account of changed circumstances. If appropriate, the adviser can give guidance on how to get a Will correctly drafted by a fully qualified solicitor at a reasonable cost.
In order to assure that your beneficiaries can inherit a share of your estate precisely in accordance with your wishes, a correctly prepared written Will is essential.
*Lightspeed Research June 2013