Wills are not trendy, fun or exciting, they are the poor relation of the legal world and are shrouded by mystery and myth. The net result of which is that over 70% of the UK population do not have one and as a consequence are leaving their affairs to chance. With that in mind I thought I would address some of these and try and put the record straight as well as explaining how mentioning Devon Air Ambulance Trust in your Will can make a huge difference to the charities work….But first those myths:
“If I die my spouse will get everything…” Sadly not always true, it depends if you have children or not, the rules have recently changed over Intestacy and the spouse only gets assets up to £250,000 and any personal possessions, everything over that is split 50% to the spouse and 50% to the children.
“We aren’t married but have been together for years so my partner is my common law spouse and gets everything…” The Intestacy rules only recognise marriage or civil partnerships, but not co-habitees and as such if one partner dies without leaving a Will and say has a child from a previous relationship, then that child gets everything and the partner nothing.
“I’m currently separated and the divorce is coming through so my ex-spouse will get nothing if I die….” In the eyes of the law you are still legally married until the issue of the Decree Absolute which then dissolves the marriage. If you have a Will which gives everything to your spouse by name and you don’t change it, or have no Will then your ex-spouse would still inherit, so on any separation it is vital to make a Will or update your present one.
As you can see there are a few things to consider and having a properly drawn up Will is an easy way to guarantee that what you want to happen with your money and property does happen. It ensures your estate goes to whom you wish and not where the law says it should go. It also makes the traumatic time of dealing with a loved one’s death much easier to deal with, and is quicker and cheaper than battling with an Intestacy.
When making your Will you should consider what happens if something happens to both you and your spouse or partner, and this is a great time to think about leaving a gift to charity to help them continue their valuable work. Even small gifts can make a difference and to help people consider this, DAAT has a legacy information sheet that gives helpful hints on the correct wording to use to ensure that your kindness goes to the correct place. This is available free from DAAT by contacting 01392 466666 and they can also direct you to a qualified lawyer who can offer help and advise on the issues to consider. I hope you have the Will to help DAAT as I do!