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Karen Killick, wills and life planning solicitor at DMA Law, looks at why it is absolutely essential to make a will.

People find all sorts of reasons to avoid making a will, but it is one of the most important things you can do and can help to avoid a huge amount of stress and heartache amongst your loved ones when you’re gone.

There are also a lot of incorrect myths that surround making a will: that it’s not necessary because of ‘common law’, that it’s expensive, that it take a lot of time, or that possessions will naturally pass to the people you want them to.

None of these is true, so here are DMA Law’s top five reasons – all completely factual – for making a will as soon as possible.

  • A widow or widower may not automatically inherit the whole of their wife or husband’s estate on their death.
  • There are no automatic rights of inheritance between co-habiting partners. This is what people believe is ‘common law’, but it really doesn’t exist.
  • It is possible for your entire estate to go to distant relations, rather than to your life partner of many years.
  • If you have no traceable direct relations and do not have a will, then your whole estate may go to the crown (ie the Government takes it) instead of your life partner. There is an online list of estates that have gone unclaimed, and which will eventually go to the crown, which you can read more about here.
  • If you have minor children and don’t use your will to appoint a guardian, then your children’s carers will have to go to the court to obtain legal authority to become the children’s legal guardians.

Don’t delay making a will – it is one of the most important things you can do. If you don’t like the idea of coming to a solicitor’s office, then why not pop along to our DMA Law Link? The initial consultation is free, so you can find out what’s involved and how long it will take without any obligation.