Why do I need a Will

DIFFERENT organisations carry out surveys for different purposes, and a popular one with some charities is how many adults have not made a Will. The figure remains consistently around the 40% mark. Based on the 2011 census, this would mean approximately 20 million adults in the UK do not have a Will in place.

Read on to see case studies.

Of course it also means around 60% do have a Will in place…. or do they? Here at Campion Solicitors we are very keen to encourage you to make a Will, and of equal importance is to keep it up to date. This month we thought a couple of real life examples might stir you into action to either make a Will or update the one you have.

‘I’LL GET AROUND TO IT’ An elderly local woman passed away. She had never married and never had children but was in touch with a couple of cousins living nearby, as well as her friends and neighbours, and she was an active supporter of local charities. It was known there was no Will, and she had often said ‘I’ll get around to it’. The closest cousin appointed a solicitor to help because when there is no Will, the estate is referred to as ‘intestate’ and there are rules and procedures that have to be followed. There was the cousin who lived nearby, another in Lancashire and another relative in North Wales. The cousins thought it was just a case of verifying the family connections and then distributing the estate according to the rules. To correctly confirm the entitlement under intestacy, it was necessary to undertake some family research. A few months later, a total of 45 verified entitled ‘blood’ relatives had been identified, some of whom were in the US, Africa, Europe and Australia, and most never knew the lady had even existed, and most didn’t know each other. Each of the proven relatives received a part of the estate. It was obvious this was not what the deceased would have wanted, but if there is no will, then this is what happens. There was also beneficiary number 46: H.M. Government; the single largest beneficiary by way of the inheritance tax that had to be paid.
‘I HAVE A WILL’ A Widow with no children made a Will leaving a specific legacy (an actual amount of money) to ‘my dear friend’ and the residue (the rest of the estate) to her brother with no alternative beneficiary. (The brother was divorced and estranged from his ex-wife and children.) When the Will was written, the Widow was living in rented property on modest means and so the legacy to the friend represented around half of her estate. The brother predeceased leaving his estate to the Widow, and so on her death, the friend received the legacy, but the residue was distributed as per the rules of intestacy to the brother’s estranged children. The Will was written in 1969, so the ‘dear friend’ received the legacy of £500, and the estranged children received around £400,000.

The important point here is make a Will and keep it up-to-date.

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