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An estimated 27-million people in England and Wales do not have a Will. This means that they have made no provisions specifying what they would like to happen in the event of their death. Benjamin Franklin said that in this world nothing is certain but death and taxes. We take out insurance to deal with every eventuality we can think of (fire, theft, flooding, tempest, even things dropped from aeroplanes) but we do nothing to plan for the one thing we know with absolute certainty will happen at some point. It is never too early to make a Will, but it is often too late.
So why do so many people fail to make Wills? There are many common misconceptions:
“We're married so I don't need to make a Will – everything would pass to my spouse.”
“We're living together so everything would pass to my partner.”
“I've told my friends and family what I want to happen so they will sort it out for me when I'm gone”
ALL OF THOSE STATEMENTS ARE UNTRUE!
If you die without a Will the consequences can be disastrous. Uncertainty and fear for those you leave behind and even financial ruin and family break-up.
For some people it is especially important to make a Will. If you are living with someone and would want them to inherit in the event of your death; if you are married with children and want your spouse to inherit everything on your death; if you have no family or do not wish your estate to pass to your family, preferring instead to benefit friends or a charity; if you have dependants (children under the age of 18, elderly relatives, or disabled relatives). In these situations it will be essential for you to have a Will that dictates exactly how your estate should be distributed on your death. You can also use your Will to appoint guardians for children under the age of 18, to specify funeral wishes and to consider tax planning to try to avoid a large inheritance tax bill.