Legal Mum

Local firm Avalon Legal blogs for us on all things legal for mums

 MG 8545


August 2019
Death is certain but have you made provisions for your loved ones?

Approximately 60% of the adult population of England and Wales do not have any provision for their loved ones on death.

The fundamental question is WHY? 

People do not believe they need one; 

People do not think about it;

People are worried the process is lengthy and expensive. 

The laws surrounding Wills date back to before the modern legal system…even William Shakespeare left a Will, leaving his wife the second-best bed. 

The current law regarding Wills and the disposal of one’s estate goes back to the Wills Act 1837. Written during the early years of Queen Victoria’s reign, it states in plain English that a person is free to give his or her wealth to anyone. Anyone may benefit from such wealth, provided the provision is written and executed in accordance with the law. 

The majority of the Wills Act 1837 is current today as it was when first placed on the statute books and has only been amended four times in last 180 years, the last time in 1995.

Question:  What does this mean for you and me?

The Most Common Misconception: 
I am married and everything goes to my spouse. 

We are not immortal and cannot take our possessions with us and the assumption, for many, is that our family will automatically get everything.

The law sets out clear rules what will happen to your Estate – property, personal possessions and cash – if you die without a Will. Passing away without a Will is known in legal terms as ‘Dying Intestate’ and the rules that govern the distribution of the Estate in such circumstances is known as the ‘Law of Intestacy’.

Under the Administration of Estates Act 1925 the spouse and children do not automatically receive everything in the deceased’s Estate. 

Invariably the surviving spouse is treated harshly because the widow’s entitlement is limited to the sum of £250,000 plus personal effects and any accounts held in joint names with limited interest in only half the balance.

Any children take the remainder of the estate absolutely. 

If there are no children, surviving siblings or parents, then the surviving spouse or civil partner, under the Guidelines of the Civil Partnership 2004, takes the sum of £250,000 and one half of the balance, with the other more remote relatives taking the other half. 

The surviving spouse or civil partner can only take the whole estate if there are no surviving children, siblings or parents.

Question:  Why should I make a Will? 

It is clear from recent government statistics and in conjunction with the Chancery Division of the High Court, Probate Registry that many of the population die each year without making a Will, creating much heartache and anguish for the loved ones they leave behind.

The most common time for families to fall out is at a funeral when emotions are already running high and the event is further charged by distant relatives or indeed close members of the family asking the question “what has the deceased left me?”

Indeed, it is quite common for a high percentage of litigation cases to involve disgruntled relatives following the death of a loved one. 

Your Will may be as simple or as complicated as you like, however the outcome will be the same, leaving what you have to the person/s you want to receive it.

Question:  What is the Process?

In the first instance, a consultation is normally beneficial and depending on the company you choose to work with, could be in the comfort of your own home. This is so that the advisor may discuss your personal situation and future requirements. The information you provide will be drafted into a document that outlines all your needs and will be in place until your circumstances change.

Typically, the advisor will ask you for the following information:

Personal details

Children’s/Grandchildren’s details

Funeral Requirements

Executors

Who gets what?

Any other details or instructions

Question:  Why should I regularly review my Will?

If you made your Will some time ago it might be time to review it especially after the changing of personal circumstances such as marriage, divorce, new additions to the family, death of a family member or a move. 

A change to your financial situation, an increase in your property value and even new tax laws and legislations can also make an update to your Will necessary. 

A valid Will is vital if you want to avoid any misunderstandings after your death and will avoid costly and lengthy litigation for your family members. 

If you remarry for instance, your current Will is no longer valid, and you die under the rules of Intestacy and the State Will decide who will benefit from your Estate. 

If you remarry you will also need to make a new Will that specifically takes into account your new marriage particularly if you wish to leave your Estate to children from your previous marriage or to your new partner on the provision that your Estate reverts to your children on his or her death. 

A review helps you to be sure that the people or charities you want to benefit from your Will, will continue to do so. Often changing your Will can be as simple as drawing up a codicil (an addition or change to existing) that can be signed and kept with your existing Will.

Colin Wells, Avalon Legal

Author bio
I take pride in my professional reputation for taking the time, to not only get to know you as a client but as a person and get to understand what you want and what you would like your beneficiaries to have.

With over 18 years’ experience in this specific area of Law, Avalon Legal specialise in Wills, Powers of Attorney, Probate and Estate Planning and are based in Leatherhead, Surrey. 
​
I am a Fellow of the Institute of Paralegals, a Member of the Society of Will Writers, and a Member of the Federation of Small Businesses. This means that your service will be professional, fully advised and is a fully insured service.

For more information, please contact Colin on 01372 365740 or 
07506 586336 or Email: contact@avalon2019group.com


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