Myth 1. “My family will sort everything out”
Unfortunately, if a person dies without a will their family will have little say in the matter, whether they know the deceased’s wishes or not. When someone dies intestate their estate is distributed by the government.
Disputed Wills can lead to a great deal of animosity between family members and such disputes can often continue for several years. In this situation it is very possible for the estate to be eaten up by legal costs.
Wills cover not only your finances, debts, property and possessions but who would have legal authority over your children. If someone with children were to die intestate the fate of their children would be decided by the government, who may decide to place the children in care. For this reason it is particularly important for new parents to have wills drawn up.
Myth 2. “I had a Will drawn up several years ago so I can just amend it myself”
Once a Will has been signed it cannot be edited on the fly and still remain valid. Existing Wills can be amended with a separate legal document called a codicil. If the necessary amendments are extensive then an entirely new will may need to be drawn up.
Myth 3. “Getting married or remarried won’t affect my Will”
When you get married, any previous wills you have written become invalid. You’re will is not invalidated upon divorce, however, but any benefit that your former spouse would have received from the will would be passed on to other beneficiaries.
Myth 4. “I have a common law spouse so everything will automatically go to them”
The idea that when a couple live together for several years this creates a common law marriage has gained traction in recent years. Contrary to popular belief, however, common law marriages are not legally recognised in England and Wales. Statutory rights apply only to married couples.
If an unmarried person dies intestate (without a valid will), intestacy rules dictate that the estate would pass to their children. If the person is childless then the estate is divided between family members and if they have no living relatives then the estate will be claimed by the state.
Myth 5: “With a Will I can appoint someone to make important decisions if I lose physical or mental capacity”
A Last Will and Testament is a document that only ever comes into force upon that person’s death. I you want to make arrangements for a trusted person to make important decisions on your behalf then you should arrange a Lasting Power of Attorney to be drawn up by a solicitor.
Myth 6. “Making a will is complicated, expensive and time-consuming”
It is certainly true that professionally created Wills are more expensive than their DIY counterparts. However, this must be weighed up against the fact that professionally created wills guarantee peace of mind whereas DIY Wills may not be worth the paper they are written on. Disputed wills can lead to crushing legal costs for your family when you are no longer around.
At Carr & Co Solicitors we can have your Will drawn up and signed within a week. The whole process need not take much more than an hour or so of your time.
Myth 7. “My debts will die with me”
Any debts that you leave when you die will need to be paid from estate funds. Once these have been paid the remainder of your estate can be distributed in accordance with the wishes expressed in your Will.
Myth 8. “I don’t need to make a Will because my spouse will receive everything anyway”
It’s a common misconception that if you die without having a valid will your spouse will automatically inherit all of your estate. The reality is more complex.If you have children and die intestate your spouse will inherit £250,000 of your financial assets, your possessions, jointly held assets, and interest in the other half of the estate.
If there are no children then the spouse will receive only the personal possessions and the first £450,000.The remainder is then halved between the spouse and the rest of the family.
Myth 9. “I have a living Will already so I don’t need another one”
Lasting Powers of Attorney or Living Wills as they are sometimes called only cover the period of a person’s lifetime. An attorney (someone entrusted to carry out a person’s wishes as per the Power of Attorney) would not have the power to act as executor of the deceased’s wishes unless they had been appointed so in a separately drawn up Last Will and Testament.
Myth 10. “This is such a morbid subject. This is something only old people need to think about”
None of us know what is around the corner and making a Will just means planning ahead. It is a very caring thing to do for your loved ones and offers you the peace of mind that the people you care about will be taken care of when you are no longer around.
Making a Will shouldn’t be a stressful experience and at Carr & Co Solicitors we have over thirty years of experience in professional Will writing so you can be sure of a professional and sympathetic service.
For more information on our Will writing services visit http://www.carrandcosolicitors.com/services/wills-probate/ or call us today on 0191 284 0363.