Shockingly, a third of adults in the UK die without having made a Will. In this article, we dispel a few common myths about the process to convince those of you without on, to use this time and write one.
MYTH: Making a Will is a long and complicated process
Drawing up a Will is a simple process which can take as little as a couple of weeks, from start to finish, depending on how complex your situation is. Solicitors understand that clients may have other priorities and may not have the latest details of finances at their fingertips, so they ensure the process is as efficient and straightforward as possible.
MYTH: Making a Will is very expensive
At Caversham Solicitors, we offer a free consultation so you can discuss your circumstances with a solicitor to find out fees before you commit. There are cheaper options available, such as doing it yourself online, but you will gain peace of mind and guarantee that it is drawn up correctly by using a solicitor.
MYTH: I’m too young to be making a Will
If you are over 18 years old, own reasonably substantial assets (e.g. house, business interests, inheritance), and/or have embarked on marriage and children, it is advisable to write one up. Unfortunately, death is unpredictable so making a Will can offer you satisfaction that your loved ones will be looked after and that your assets will pass to who you wish.
MYTH: I’m not rich, I don’t have anything to put in my Will
Even though you may not be wealthy, or own your own home, most people do own something of value; this could be money in the bank, jewellery or sentimental items. No matter what you have, you should make sure that your assets end up in the right hands and the ones you want.
MYTH: My family will sort everything out once I’m gone
This is incorrect, your family will be unable to distribute your estate if you do not have a Will. Your estate will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy; basically the Will that the government has written for you. If you want to make sure your assets are passed on to who you want, you have to have a Will.
MYTH: I don’t need to make a Will, my spouse will receive everything
According to the rules of intestacy, your personal possessions and most jointly held assets will be given to your spouse. However, they will only receive a fraction of your other assets because these will be divided between your children and possibly other family members. If you do not wish your assets to be distributed like this, it is best to draw up a Will.
MYTH: Your debt is eradicated once you die
Whether it’s a mortgage, a loan or a credit card bill, it ideally needs to be paid off before you die. But if it remains, the outstanding debt will be settled from the assets that you leave in your estate. If the estate value is insufficient to pay the full amount, the debts are likely to be dealt with according to the rules of bankruptcy. There may be special rules for debts that are held jointly with your spouse who may remain responsible for them. Expert advice should be sought in these situations.
MYTH: Once I’ve written a Will, it can’t be changed
This is untrue, as long as you have the mental capacity to make a Will, you are able to change, revoke or rewrite it. Ideally, you should amend it when you experience any major life changes and also review it regularly, around every three to five years.