The major benefit of making a Will is that the deceased’s estate is distributed in accordance with their wishes: it also gives the opportunity to plan and potentially save tax. Also, making a valid Will ensures intestacy is avoided. This is important as these statutory rules may not coincide with the deceased’s intentions and may lead to hardship for family and dependants on death. Consider the following example:
Sarah and Jeremy live in England. They are unmarried, have two young children Alex and Sam and all live together in a house owned by Jeremy. Jeremy has an older son from his first marriage called Trevor who is in his second year at University.
When Jeremy died without making a Will the rules of intestacy applied. As Sarah and Jeremy were not married, his three children inherited all of Jeremy’s possessions, property and savings and Sarah received nothing. This meant Sarah was forced to sell the family home in order to give Trevor his inheritance.
The intestacy rules differ depending where you live. There are different rules for England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland and full details can be found at: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/cto/customerguide/page14-1.htm
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