‘I was shocked to find out my dad could inherit if I died – I haven’t seen him for years’
‘When I found out that my ex could inherit my estate if my child died after me, I was so glad I had taken advice’
When you are in your late teens and twenties the last thing on your mind is making a will. But if you unexpectedly died, would you want both of your parents to inherit your money?
If you die without a will your estate passes under the intestacy rules. This means that if you are ‘young, free and single’, unmarried with no children, both of your biological parents have equal right to your ‘estate’ (any money or property held in your name). So please ask yourself, would you be happy for each of your parents to inherit half of your savings – half of the house deposit you have worked so hard to put together?
And if you have adult children yourself, who are the main beneficiaries of your estate, then you should be encouraging them to make their own will also. You think all of your planning is done – your ex-partner is not a beneficiary under your will and nor should they be. But consider this – you die, your children inherit everything. And then something happens to them without a will – their sole surviving parent could receive everything!
Families who come to me for advice before an upcoming family trip abroad with the worry that something may happen to them all often leave their adult children out of the planning. But if the worst did happen and their fears were realised, it may be assumed, in the absence of other evidence, that people died in ‘age order’ (the youngest last) and the correct and proper planning before the trip could prevent the assets all going to the youngest who would then in turn have no will leaving the estranged parent the only beneficiary.
And for families with children under 18, it is essential that they make a legally correct and valid will. In a will you can name ‘trustees’ – who are those appointed to look after the inheritance for a child or children until they are adults themselves. Without a will, if you are not married, a representative on behalf of your children will need to deal with the estate and look after the money on their behalf. And the person that the law considers most entitled to do so? Their surviving parent. Please ask yourself, would you trust their other parent to deal with all of your assets and look after everything for your children until they are 18?
If you would like to discuss the above in more detail, then please contact Natasha Booth in our Formby Lifetime Planning Team on 01704 872156
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