5 Popular Misconceptions About Wills You Should Ignore.

“I don’t need to make a Will as my family will inherit everything anyway.”

How often have you heard people say that? It’s just one of the many myths that have somehow wormed their way into people’s consciousness. Add to that other old chestnuts like “I’ve nothing to leave anyway”, “making a Will is far too complicated” and “I made a Will years ago” and you’ve got numerous reasons and justifications to put off making what effectively is probably the most important thing you could ever do for your family and loved ones. The problem is all of the justifications that are regularly trotted out are about as wide off the mark as you could possibly get. They’re all based on misconceptions and misunderstandings.

Making a Will is generally a pretty simple procedure.

Your Will is just a legal document which comes into effect on your death, and sets out both who will benefit from the estate, and who shouldn’t, as well as who should administer your estate and personal affairs. A properly executed Will can speed up the administration process and can ultimately reduce the costs, by making provision for an unmarried partner, helping preserve assets which could otherwise be used to fund care home fees, setting out your funeral wishes, and looking after the needs of minor children. If it’s that simple then why don’t more people do it? Well, it’s mainly down to misconceptions again. Hopefully the following information might help to put your mind at rest…

‘Only rich people make a Will’:

That is incorrect. You really don’t need to be wealthy to justify making a Will. You may not have large cast assets to leave behind, but there’s a distinct possibility that you’ll still have other assets which can be passed on to your nearest and dearest. You may own a house or have life assurance policies, investments, building society accounts and shares. Those assets alone could be worth a considerable amount of money. It would be irresponsible not to ensure that they were dealt with properly and passed on to the people you love.

‘Making a Will is complicated’:

That is also not strictly true. Yes some Wills can be complicated, but the majority are quite straightforward. Harold Stock & Co can prepare a standard Will from fairly brief instructions. It’s only when the estate becomes more complicated that the difficulties can start. Even then, we can advise you of the best way to arrange your affairs to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible for your executors and beneficiaries.

‘Everything will go to my nearest relative anyway’:

Don’t be too sure of that. Many people mistakenly assume that when they die their next of kin, for example a husband, wife or child will automatically receive the whole of their estate. Sadly this is not necessarily the case.

When a person dies without leaving a Will, the laws of Intestacy apply: it’s those rules which govern who gets what. If a person dies leaving a husband or a wife but no children, the husband or wife could well find that they have to share the estate with the spouse’s brothers, sister or parents.

‘I’ve made my own Will’:

There’s nothing wrong with that per se, but we should point out that making your own Will can be risky and often causes more problems than it solves. Once you’ve gone you won’t be able to tell everyone what you really meant to say. It could well transpire that your Will fails to do what you expected it to do. This can result in expensive litigation, and occasionally can lead to family arguments and quarrels. The only true peace of mind will come from having a Will drawn up by a qualified and experienced solicitor.

‘I made a Will years ago’:

People change over time and their circumstances change with them. Just because you made a Will some time ago doesn’t mean it will still be relevant today. Marriage can invalidate an earlier Will entirely, and divorce can make part of a Will ineffective. Separation will not prevent a spouse from benefitting from a prior Will under the rules of intestacy. It is vital, therefore, to keep your Will up to date.

‘How can Harold Stock & Co Solicitors help?’

Harold Stock & Co has a specialist department of experienced solicitors who can provide excellent advice to help you make the right decisions for the future. We ensure that your Will expresses your wishes and is legally valid. We can advise you on inheritance law and taxation and help avoid a costly dispute after your death.

For more information call Harold Stock Solicitors on 01457 835597 or email info@haroldstock.com

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