Why do I need a Will?

Fiona Ward is a private client solicitor at our Windermere office, dealing with Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and probate matters. Here she share her thoughts on how the coronavirus pandemic has caused an increase in will-making enquires, but also explains for those who are not yet convinced that they need a will, why you actually do!

“Most solicitors will agree that there was a huge surge in instructions for wills (new and updated) shortly after the lockdown was put in place in March last year. The instructions came from those who probably already knew why they needed to ask for a will or should have their existing wills updated. Faced with a global pandemic which appeared to be attacking people without regard for age or health, this was perhaps no surprise. Now we find ourselves in lockdown 3 and the high levels of enquires continue.

In 2018 54% of UK adults did not have a Will, according to Which. Here a just a few reasons why you need one:

  • Unmarried with children? If an unmarried couple have children together, having a guardian appointed in a will will ensure that if both parents die before the children reach the age of 18 they will be cared for by the person the parents choose. This is the most common way of appointing Guardians for children.
  • Single parent? The single parent of children under 18 who does not have a will means the children will inherit their estate, but it will be held on trust for the children (until they are 18) by their surviving parent. Is this what a single parent always wants?
  • Who will deal with things once I’m gone? If you make a will, you get to choose your executors i.e. who will be in charge when dealing with your estate. If you have a business, a will ensures a smooth succession and business continuity.
  • What happens if I don’t have a will? If you die without a will you will probably cause your loved ones unnecessary stress, and your estate could be distributed in a way which you had not intended; according to the Intestacy Rules. If you live with your partner but are not married to them nor in a civil partnership with them, they will receive nothing from your estate. Contrary to what many believe, there is no such thing as a common-law wife or husband in the eyes of the law.
  • Who will get what? Even if you are married or in a civil partnership, if you have children the Intestacy Rules only permit your surviving spouse/partner to inherit £270,000 and your personal possessions, and your children will inherit the rest of your estate. Is this what you would want?

A recently bereaved wife found to her dismay that her husband did not have a Will; his estate approached £900,000, so she only received the first £270,000 and his personal possessions, and their 17-year old son inherited the balance. Fortunately, he turned 18 shortly after his father’s death, and after taking separate legal advice, he agreed to be party to a variation of the Intestacy Rules so that his mother took the whole estate. Not all children may be so accomodating.

Using a qualified solicitor to draft your Will is the safest way to ensure your wishes are carried out. Will drafters do not need to be qualified nor have insurance should things go wrong. Solicitors have insurance, years of training behind them and an obligation to keep up to date with the changes in the law and the current tax regime.

If you have a bad tooth you wouldn’t pull it out yourself. You would go to a qualified dentist. Let Thomson Hayton Winkley save you the pain of a badly written Will. If you don’t have a Will, please put this right.”

You can contact Fiona at our Windermere office on 015394 46585.

Published 21 January 2021

Previous article:   How YOU can help speed up the house buying process

Next article:   How Coronavirus has affected local business

Free Enquiries

Call us on 01539 721945 or complete our Free Enquiry Form and we will be in touch soon (no cost or obligation):

Enquire now

Newsletter Signup
Client Feedback

“ Very reliable and extremely efficient. Supportive and good to talk to. ”

Contact Details

Kendal Office: 114–116 Stricklandgate, Kendal , LA9 4QA T: 01539 721945

Windermere Office: 25 Crescent Road, Windermere, LA23 1BJ T: 015394 46585

Kirkby Lonsdale Office: 29 Main Street, Kirkby Lonsdale, LA6 2AH T: 015242 71222

J36 Rural Auction Centre: Crooklands, Milnthorpe, LA7 7FP T: 015395 67571

Financial Services: 114–116 Stricklandgate, Kendal , LA9 4QA T: 01539 815746