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By Sarah Strong, Partner

Over two thirds of people in the UK do not have a Will. This will inevitably cause problems and difficulties for your relatives and loved ones on your death. Unless they know for certain, steps would have to be taken to ascertain whether or not a Will exists and, if not, they would then have to identify who was eligible to deal with your estate.

Without a Will, the Intestacy Rules will dictate who receives your estate and in what proportions, meaning inadequate provision may be made for your intended beneficiaries. It is often assumed that a spouse or civil partner would inherit the entire estate, but this is not the case where there are other surviving close relatives. In addition, co-habiting partners and stepchildren do not benefit under the Intestacy Rules, which may prove problematic when dealing with blended families.

Even if the Intestacy Rules do currently leave your estate to your intended beneficiaries, these rules are subject to change from time to time. As such, if the rules were amended in the future, these could no longer adequately reflect your wishes.

By making a Will, you can remove any uncertainty and make sure that, on your death, your assets will pass to the people and causes that you care most about. This can range from deciding who should receive personal possessions, such as jewellery and other sentimental items, your pets, and making cash gifts, to dealing with your entire estate.

By taking professional advice and structuring your Will in certain ways, it may be possible to reduce or even eliminate the amount of Inheritance Tax payable on your death. In addition, it may be advisable under certain circumstances for trusts to be included under the terms of a Will, either to prevent minors inheriting whilst they are too young, to try and balance the needs of a spouse or civil partner against those of your children or try to protect your estate in the event of a beneficiary being declared bankrupt, divorcing or requiring paid care.

If you wish to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to contact Sarah Strong on email: or tel: 01892 515022.

This blog is not intended as legal advice that can be relied upon and CooperBurnett LLP does not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of its contents.

Originally published in The Times of Tunbridge Wells:

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January 10, 2024
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