Why if you remember the Spice Girls, it’s probably time to make your Will
Ahh, the 1990s. It may seem like five minutes ago, but if you’re old enough to finish a sentence that begins ‘Now this is a story all about how…’ – then it’s time you thought about making a will.
But the Fresh Prince aside, if you own property, or have kids, if you’re separated or divorced, or if you have your own business, here are some of the questions you need to think about:
What happens to your kids if you don’t make a will?
You should always get advice for your particular circumstances, but here are some of the common scenarios we see in our everyday work when parents die without leaving a will.
- Everything goes to your surviving spouse, which is fine – until they remarry and their new spouse becomes their new main beneficiary. Your kids could be cut out, without anyone even realising.
- You and your partner have fallen for the Myth of Common Law Marriage. On the death of the children’s birth mother, the other partner (even if they are the biological father) has no automatic parental rights. Your children may end up in State care while the matter is resolved.
- If both parents should die, no-one has been appointed as guardians of your children (or trustees, to look after their inheritance), until they are 18. There is again a real danger that they will end up in State care.
What happens to your business if you don’t make a will?
Much depends on if you are a sole business proprietor, or if you are in partnership with one or more other person.
Your business (or your share of it) will be counted as part of your estate.
If you die intestate (without a Will), then who inherits depends on whether or not you are married, or if you have kids (see here for a complete breakdown of who inherits when there is no will).
Would your surviving spouse, or your parents want to take on the responsibility of running your business after you have gone? Who would represent your children’s interests until they turn 18?
And if you have a business partner(s), will they be happy to work with your beneficiaries, or will they be willing (and able?) to buy them out? How will your business partner feel if the business has to be sold to settle the estate?
If these are matters you haven’t discussed with your family or business partner (and a Will-Writing professional), then it’s time to have that conversation.
What if I have children from a previous relationship?
If you are unmarried, then a large portion (if not all) of your estate will go to your children – although if you haven’t left a valid will, it could take years to sort out the estate and to appoint trustees to administer their inheritance until they are 18.
But if you have married since having children, and haven’t made a new will since then, most – if not all – of your estate will go to your current spouse. You could have cut your own children out of your will, without even making one!
So if you’re concerned with any of these issues, or have other circumstances you’d like to discuss, book a free consultation with one of our legal experts:
Book online or call 01342 477 102 and quote ‘90s Kids Blog‘
This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.