Wills. Do we really need one?

Posted on: February 12, 2020

It has been a common view in recent times that there is no need for a married couple to have a Will in place as the estate will automatically pass to the spouse upon the other partner’s death. This may well be the case in some instances but it isn’t always the case and isn’t worth taking a gamble with. This is why we offer Cheltenham wills and probate services to all and pride ourselves on the advice that we give to people being unique to their situation and their family set up. For more information about our wills and probate services click here

Back to the issue of Wills.

When any individual passes away without a Will in place, regardless of whether they were married or not, they are said to have died intestate. This means that they estate will be dealt with according to the legal rules and regulations of intestacy. This can be a long drawn out process and doesn’t always mean that the estate of the individual passes to the loved ones that they would have wanted to see benefit from their Will, if they had had one in place.

Intestacy rules sees an amount of up to £250,000 being given to a spouse from an estate and the rest then being divided up between the spouse and any children. This could mean that other close family members or step-children do not receive anything from the estate. In the case where there is no will and the partners are not married the estate can pass on to the deceased individuals parents or siblings in the absence of any children of their own. This can then leave any non-marital partner without any financial security from the life they have built with the individual that has passed on.

the importance of a willThere have been some high profile cases where the estate has passed onto parents – such as that of the singer Avicii who died at the age of 28. His £20 million estate passed to his parents in the absence of children or a spouse. In this case there were no other individuals who could have laid a claim to the estate but had Avicii had a Will drawn up he may have left some of his vast estate to specific individuals, charities or other causes.

Heath Ledger is another case where a Will had not been updated after he fathered a child. This meant that under the existing Will that he had in place half of his estate passed to his sisters and the rest to his parents. Nothing was gifted to his child Matilda, who was two at the time of his death. After the probate process had been completed the family donated all of the money that had been gifted to them in Ledger’s Will to Matilda.

These two examples show the importance not only of having a Will in place but how crucial it is to ensure that you have this updated should your circumstances and family situation change, so you can rest assured in knowing that your loved ones are cared for upon your death.