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How can I pass on my estate and assets when I die?

View profile for Rhiannon Stevinson
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How can I pass on my estate and assets when I die?

Talking about your affairs after you have passed away is not an easy topic, and a large number of people assume that the law automatically follows your wishes. However, this isn’t always the case.

A Will can be a useful document to ensure that your estate is left to those who you wish to benefit after you have passed away. Recent studies show that only a third of adults have a Will in place which confirms their wishes.

In her first article for the firm, Wills & Tax Executive Rhiannon Stevinson outlines what a Will is, why you need one and what happens if you don’t have one in place when you die.

What is a Will?

A Will is a legal document which sets out what is to happen to your estate and assets after you pass away.

Typically, a Will includes named individuals who will inherit your money, property and possessions.

Do I need a Will?

Although having a Will is not a necessity, we highly recommend having one in place.

In your Will you can confirm who is able to complete the administration of your affairs after you have passed away (collecting the assets, paying any debts and ensuring the tax is accounted for) and who your estate passes to.

A Will can also be used to appoint a legal guardian who would look after any children under the age of 18 that you may have when you die.

A well drafted Will can also maximise the potential tax reliefs available after you pass away.

Can you gift a pet in your Will?

Many families now have pets that are considered a part of the family. Don’t worry, pets can also be included in your Will.

Using a Will, you can confirm who will look after the pet, whether the new owner will receive a sum of money to look after the pet and pass on any equipment for the pet. If you are unsure on who can be trusted to look after your beloved pet then charities could be included instead.

What happens if you don't make a Will?

When someone passes away without a Will, they are deemed to have died intestate and the intestacy rules will apply. These rules determine how your estate is to be distributed.

Intestacy rules may not reflect your wishes and so someone who you wish to inherit, may not. For example, if you are married and have children then there are specific rules on how your estate will be divided. This may not be what you intend or help make the most of any inheritance tax reliefs available.

Additionally, if at the time of your intestate death your child has no surviving parent or anyone with parental responsibility, children services and the court are likely to get involved, appointing a legal guardian, not of your choosing, to take care of them.

Related: What would happen to my children if I was to die without a Will?

You can use our Intestacy Flowchart to find out what would happen to your estate if you were to pass away without a Will in place, here.

Do you need a solicitor to make a Will?

You can create a Will without using a solicitor, however it is not recommended.

It is always best to instruct a professional to draft your Will for you, as they can ensure your best wishes are represented and that the correct legal procedures have been followed.

You wouldn’t want to create a Will yourself and make a mistake that could prevent your assets being passed down to the right person.

Wills & Tax Specialist Solicitors

At Frettens, our bright team of Wills experts are best placed to assist you and would be happy to discuss your circumstances with you over the phone or in person.

If you would to speak to a member of our team, or ask any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on 01202 499255. We offer a free initial chat for all new clients.

Related: When should I update my Will?

Related: Should I update my Will after divorce?

The content of this article, blog or video is not intended as specific legal advice. For tailored assistance, please contact a member of our team.