Will – why should I make a Will?

Will – Why should I make a Will?

Our Head of Private Client, Neil Acheson-Gray, spoke on BBC Radio London last month and today to explain the importance of Wills and the charity scheme Will Aid, which our firm is currently participating in. Here is a short summary of Neil’s interview with the BBC, which highlights why you should get a Will if you don’t have one already.

How many people have a Will?

According to a study carried out by Will Aid, more than 50% of parents in the UK with children under 18 do not have a Will.

Whilst at first glance this figure is concerning, Neil said that the intestacy rate is not actually reflective of that figure, which shows that as people get older, they eventually get round to making a Will.

We believe that Wills should be made sooner rather than later. No one knows what the future may hold so it is important to be prepared, not only for ourselves but also for those who depend on us.

At what age should I make a Will?

There is no specific age that someone should make a Will. It is more dictated by events in life that change your profile, such as:

  • Buying a house
  • Marriage
  • Children

When you have children it is very important to make a Will. Many people don’t realise that the law gives children rights that cut across the relationship between husband and wife. It means that if you leave more than a certain amount in your estate, your children will be entitled to a defined share and the rest will automatically pass to the surviving spouse. A significant aspect of this is that there is no inheritance tax to pay on assets that pass between spouses, however, anything that passes outside of this, such as to a child, is outside this rule and so could be subject to inheritance tax.

What if I don’t have anything to leave?

In the interview, Neil could not stress enough that everybody has something to leave. For some people, it is more pressing than others to make a Will, but our view is that there is nobody that should not make one. It is a statement you leave behind and something that may bring comfort to those who depend on us.

Obviously, a Will disposes of assets and although you may feel like you don’t have much, it is not a good idea to have no one you have chosen in charge of your estate and assets when you die.

If you have no Will you run the risk of your estate being inherited by a distant relative you have never met. If there are no surviving relatives to inherit, the estate will pass to the Crown.  In the interview, Neil points out that this is a real shame, and that assets should go somewhere in relation to the person who has died. You should be in control of who inherits what.

What stops people from making a Will?

A combination of things tend to deter people from making a Will, including:

  • An assumption they don’t need to because everything will go to certain people;
  • That they don’t have enough assets to leave;

People also worry about the cost. Neil agrees that it can be expensive, however, at Carter Lemon Camerons we try to make Wills as affordable as we can. This is because Neil believes that having a Will is a human right and no one should be put off having one due to price.

You can listen to Neil’s interview on BBC Radio.

Contact our team at Carter Lemon Camerons LLP Solicitors for advice on making a Will or putting in place Lasting Powers of Attorney. Unlike many City practices, we are happy to act in smaller private legal matters, bringing the same care and consideration as we do to large commercial matters. For more details, please contact Neil Acheson-Gray or Ian West, partners in our Private Client team at Carter Lemon Camerons or call us on  +44 (0) 20 7406 1018.