BBC Radio 4 Moneybox's Paul Lewis on why wills are so important:
The only way you can be sure your life savings and possessions go to the people or the causes that you care most about, is to make a will.
Never more so than during the summer months, we spend a lot of time with our partners, especially driving or travelling abroad. If anything were to happen to a couple whilst travelling together, circumstances could arise which make it difficult to determine who passed away first. In such situations, the younger spouse is deemed to have survived the elder spouse, which can cause problems, in particular for 2nd marriages.
A will eliminates the worry of either of your children being disinherited by this rule, should you die together. Enjoy your holiday with peace of mind this summer.
2. Avoid Family Disputes
Disputes over estates often cause families to argue to the point of requiring a solicitor's help themselves. Leaving a will removes any doubt as to who you want to leave things to when you die.
Close relatives or dependants who aren't included in your will can still make a claim against your estate, but your solicitor can advise you on how likely this is and how you could prevent it.
3. Care for Your Loved Ones
Although it's hard to talk about death to our loved ones, talking about your will with them can often save a lot of worry. A will allows your estate to go to the people you intend it to look after.
If you are in a relationship where you are living together, but not married or a civil partner, your spouse could end up receiving nothing from your estate.
4. Protect Your Assets
Making a will ensures that your assets are kept within the family and can be passed down to future generations. A well-structured will can cut out the worry of new spouses or second families inheriting what you did not intend them to.
As The Mail on Sunday reported this week, 7 out of 10 people die intestate (without a will). As a result, the Treasury trouser more than £50 million a year that could otherwise have gone to your loved ones.
Not many people realise that joint assets, in particular your home, pass automatically on death to the surviving spouse (rather than to any children), as most couples own their property as joint tenants. Making a will and severing your joint tenancy allows you to decide who inherits your share of any property you own with a partner.
5.Save on Inheritance Tax
A will does have the potential to cut the Inheritance Tax bill on your estate after your death. For example, a spouse or civil partner residing permanently in the UK would not pay Inheritance Tax.
6. Your Funeral
You can use your will as a way of letting your loved ones know your funeral wishes e.g. whether you wish to be buried or cremated, where you'd like the service to be held and the type of service you would like.
Call 0191 2625133 to make an appointment with one of our will specialists for Free Wills Friday, throughout July and August.