I have recently got married, why do I need a Will?
Getting married means many changes in ones life, and one of these should be the changing or creation of a will. We've compiled the most frequently asked questions by married couples regarding their estate and the relevant changes they may need to make.
I have recently got married, will my old Will be valid?
- It is advisable for you to review your old Will as your wishes may need updating, if your old Will has not included a contemplation of marriage clause to your new spouse, then your Will shall be void. This will mean that if you die you will be considered to have died intestate (without a Will).
- You may want to get a mirror will with your new spouse if they have similar wishes to you or alternatively a single will if your wishes differ to ensure that you have a Will in place on your death
What happens if I am married with no children, why do I need a Will?
- From the 1st of October 2014 new intestacy laws came into force which effects what will happen to your estate if you die without leaving a Will. If you die intestate then fixed legal rules will apply which will determine who will be entitled to your assets.
- Under the new rules, if you die intestate in the absence of any children then your spouse or civil partner (if you have entered into a legally valid civil partnership) will be entitled to everything.
- These rules will override any previous wishes that you may have expressed, you may have desired for a portion of your estate to pass to your parents, siblings or even charitable institutions that you have supported during your lifetime.
- Therefore, it is advisable for you to accurately record your wishes by arranging for a Will to be drafted so that you have the peace of mind of knowing that such wishes have been recorded in a legal manner and can be fulfilled upon your death by your Executors and Trustees. You can name trusted individuals to act as your Executors and Trustees as they will have the responsibility of administering your estate upon your death or you might want to consider the appointment of a professional who is experienced in such matters, although this may incur additional costs to your estate.
- If the size of your estate exceeds the nil rate band then you should consider tax planning advice.
I am married with children; my estate is worth below £250,000 what will happen on my death if I do not have a Will?
- If you have assets of less than £250,000 and you die intestate then your spouse or civil partner will get everything. Your children will receive nothing of your estate. Your spouse or civil partner may not make any provision for your children to receive anything on their death.
- It is advisable for you to arrange for a Will if you wish to leave any amounts or personal gifts to your children
I am married with children; my estate is worth above £250,000 what will happen on my death if I do not have a Will?
- If you die intestate and your assets are worth above £250,000 and you have children including children from previous relationships, adopted children and adopted stepchildren then the following rules will apply:
- Your spouse is entitled to all your personal effects such as your car and household items
- Your spouse of entitled to the first £250,000 of your other assets such as your property
- Your spouse is also entitled to half of everything that is left over
- Your children would then be entitled to the other half once they attain 18 years of age. If any of them die before you then their share will pass equally to their children on attaining 18 years of age.
To illustrate, if you leave your sole estate worth £450,000 intestate and you are married with two children
- Spouse receives all personal effects
- Spouse receives first £250,000
- Spouse receives £100,000 (half share of remaining £200,000)
- Two children receive £50,000 each (half share of remaining £100,000)
- If one child dies then their £50,000 becomes divided equally between their children upon attaining 18 years of age
- If the children decide that they want the money straight away then your spouse could be forced to sell the property that they are living in.
- If these are not your wishes, then you can protect your spouse during their lifetime in a Will by specifying that they have the right to remain in the property during their lifetime and then upon their death for your share of the property to pass to your two children.
Why is it important to do a Will?
- A Will allows you to record your wishes accordingly. Appoint trusted individuals or professional who will deal with the administration of your estate. It can give some protection to your loved ones in particular if you are concerned about protecting your surviving spouse so that they have a place to reside upon your death and can also help to protect and maintain the inheritance of future generations for your children and grandchildren.