There are many myths about Wills, which often causes so much confusion that many people never bother to get around to doing one. Here we have highlighted the ten most common ones, as well as the truth behind them, to make matters less complicated.
1. Marriage/Remarriage does not affect my Will
One of the many myths about wills, is that getting married, or remarried has no effect. The truth of the matter is that marriage/remarriage actually invalidates any previous wills, unless they are written in view of the marriage taking place. Therefore, if you do not write or update your will after getting married, you will be considered to have died intestate and the rules of intestacy will apply. This means that it is the government who will decide who inherits from your estate. However, the same can not be said about separation and divorce, so it is just as important to update your will if you separate from your spouse or get divorced.
2. I have a common law spouse, so they will get everything if I don’t write my Will
In law, there is no such thing as a common law husband/wife. If you are in a relationship, and/or cohabiting but are not married, then without a valid Will in place, your partner will not automatically recieve anything from your estate. The only way you can ensure that they inherit from you, is to write your Will.
3. My family will sort out my affairs after I am gone
Unfortunately, this is not true. If you die without a valid Will in place, the government will decide who inherits from you, under the rules of intestacy. Depending on your personal circumstances, many of your family members might not receive anything at all! Without your wishes being written down your family could end up in dispute about what you would have wanted, and could result in long drawn out court battles that can be very expensive.
4. My children will be looked after by my family
This is one of the most popular myths about wills. Many parents believe that their chosen relatives – siblings, parents etc. will automatically take care of their children if something was to happen to them. In reality, the government will decide who is suitable to become the legal guardians of any minor children. In order to ensure people that you know and trust will take care of your children, you need to appoint guardians in your Will.
5. My debts will die when I do
Although many people will want this to be true, it is simply not the case. Any debts that you have at the time of your death will need to be paid by the funds from your estate. Once these are paid, the rest of your estate will be distrubted according to your wishes. If there is not enough in your estate to settle your debts, any creditors will take as much as they can and write-off the rest of the debt. It is also possible that assets may have to be sold in order to pay these debts.
6. I am married so my spouse will inherit everything
It is not guaranteed that your spouse will inherit your entire estate upon your death. How much you are worth and whether you have children are contributing factors to how your assets are distributed. If you have children, your spouse will inherit the first £250,000 of your estate, jointly owned assets, and your personal posessions, as well as half of whatever remains, with the other half being split equally between your children. If you have no children, your spouse will inherit the first £450,000 and your personal posessions, with the rest of your assets being halved between your spouse and the rest of your family.
7. I have written my will so I can forget about it now
Once you have written your will, you can put it somewhere safe and forget about it – but only for a while! What you have written in your Will may work and reflect your wishes now – but these can change as time passes and so your Will may not always be accurate. It is important to look over it every three to five years and check that it still accurately reflects your wishes. You will also need to check it and update it whenever there are changes in your circumstances, such as if you get married, separated or divorced, have children, move house, or if someone named in your Will passes away.
8. A Will is just for deciding who gets your stuff
It is true that you write a Will to choose who inherits from your estate, but it is about much more than that. You can use your Will to appoint guardians for minor children, to reduce inheritance tax liabilities and to protect your assets from a variety of threats including survivor remarrying, adult children’s divorce and care home costs.
9. I’m too young to write a Will
This might be one of the biggest myths about wills – ever! In reality, no one knows how long they have left to live. It can happen to any one, at any age, at any time. Everyone over the age of 18 should have a Will, but it is particularly important for those who own property, have children and/or own a business. It can never be too early to write a Will, but it can be 1 day too late.
10. Writing a Will is morbid, expensive and time-consuming
Writing a will and talking about death is a difficult subject, but it doesn’t have to be morbid. You can look at it in a positive way, focussing on the benefits that this will have for your family and their future. Although it may be unpleasant for you, your family will suffer more, and for longer, if you die intestate. Writing your Will doesn’t have to be a long drawn out process, so although at first it may feel a little uncomfortable, that feeling will not last long.
There are various methods of writing a Will, and each one takes a different length of time and prices can vary. A DIY Will can usually be completed very quickly and for a very low price, but that carries more risk than using a professional. Using a will writing company like Wellingborough Wills will be slightly more expensive, as you are not only paying for the document, but also the knowledge and advice that you receive. You also get more security when using Wellingborough Wills as we carry full professional indemnity insurance. You can often find that having a badly written DIY will, or no Will at all, can be much more costly and time consuming than a carefully constructed Will created by a professional.
Writing your Will
Writing your Will should not be a worrying and traumatic experience, nor should it be complicated and stressful. That’s why, at Wellingborough Wills, we take a friendly, comforting approach, visiting you at home where you feel most comfortable. We will break down the jargon and explain everything in a clear and concise manner so that you are able to make the right decision for you and your family.
Register for your free consultation today, by completing the form below and a member of our team will be in touch.