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General Will Overview

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Why Write a Will?

There are many excellent reasons to write a Will. The foremost reason is writing a Will means your property will go to the people you decide should inherit it. Your personal wealth; property, money, shares and other personal possessions can be used to provide for family and close friends.

If you do make a Will you will have little or no control over who inherits what, you may even find that a distant or disliked relative or even the Crown will benefit from you not having prepared one.

This is because the law requires that when someone dies without leaving a Will certain portions of the person's estate are reserved for family members. These reserved portions are known as 'statutory legacies' and are paid to close relatives and what is left may go to more distant relatives.

In England and Wales this means that if you have children then your spouse or civil partner can only inherit a maximum of £250 000 including your home and all your personal possessions. The rest of your estate would be divided in two, half goes into a trust on which the surviving partner can draw interest for their lifetime and other half goes to straight to the children. However if they are under 18 then their share would be held in a statutory trust until their 18th birthday.

If you do not have kids then your spouse or partner may inherit up to a maximum £450 000 with the remainder being split in two between your parents and your siblings, or if your parents are dead, between your siblings and their children.

Financial issues aside another good reason to make a Will is that helps those that are left behind to cope. They know what was intended and how to deal with the deceased person's possessions. Your Will can also provide for more than one generation, for example trusts can be setup for your children or grand children. You can also leave specific gifts to charities and appoint legal guardians for your children.

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