If you haven’t already written a Will, then you’re not alone; it is estimated that two-thirds of the British public haven’t prepared one. However, what you might not realise is that without one you have no say in what happens to your estate when you die.
Regardless of your age or health, it is important to plan ahead particularly if you own a property or have savings, investments, insurance policies or own a business. There are also numerous other benefits, from ensuring you leave an inheritance to family and friends, to potentially reducing the amount of Inheritance Tax that may be payable on your estate.
If you die without having made a Will, the rules of intestacy apply to your estate. These legal regulations will divide your estate in a pre-determined way and, regardless of whether you are married, in a civil-partnership or have step-children, could result in your assets being distributed to family members that you would not have chosen to inherit from your estate.
You should review your Will regularly to make sure it still reflects your wishes, such as adding or removing beneficiaries if you change your mind regarding who you wish to inherit your estate. You will also need to update your Will if you get married, enter a civil-partnership or get divorced as a Will is automatically cancelled by these events.