Why your new year resolution should be making a will

By Ian Bradshaw and Lara Murrell

It is not surprising that most people find it quite difficult to get around to making a will. It can be hard to face up to one’s own mortality and often when people are considering making a will it is after somebody close has died. However, if you do not make a will, then you lose control over what happens to your estate following your death.

Where a person dies without having made a will, that person is said to have died intestate, and the law sets out in a prescribed manner how their estate should be distributed, called the Intestacy Rules. The persons who may inherit under the rules of intestacy are restricted to spouses or civil partners, children, grandchildren and some other close relatives. Cohabitees or ‘common law spouses’, close friends, carers or charities cannot benefit under these Intestacy Rules. Divorced spouses or former partners of a civil partnership are also unable to inherit under the Intestacy Rules, although they can still inherit if they are only informally separated.

It is very important therefore for cohabiting couples to make wills to ensure that their estates will be left to each other…

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