Many people do not have a will, and others may have one which was made some time ago and has now, more or less, been forgotten or ignored. Those without a will may think that the law will step in and deal with their estate in a fair manner; whilst those with an old will may assume that it has been dealt with and no further action is required by them.
Neither case is necessarily correct, and there will be winners and losers depending on the situation when you die.
Unmarried couples without wills often assume that their estate will pass to their ‘common law’ husband or wife. Unfortunately, this is not the case: if they were to die without a will, their partner would receive nothing and would need to bring a claim against the estate to try to stay in the house, if owned by the deceased, for example. Such couples definitely need to make a will to protect each other for the future.
Another case where making or updating a will is important is where a married couple’s relationship is breaking down. If there is a will leaving assets to the spouse, until there is a decree absolute (or final court order in the event of a civil partnership), that gift will be valid on death even if the relationship had broken down. If there is no will, then the spouse would automatically receive a large proportion of the estate under the intestacy rules if death occurred before the marriage or partnership had been finally dissolved by the court.
These are difficult times for any family at the moment, but it is important to make a will and to keep that will under review as circumstances change.
Everys remains open with a full team of private client lawyers ready to help with any queries you may have.