Inheritance is something of a taboo subject for a the majority of us, leaving us feeling uncomfortable when faced with talking about making a Will.
A recent survey by Aviva revealed that 63% of people have yet to discuss the subject with their families, despite four out of 10 people expecting to receive money when someone in their family dies.
Despite being a touchy subject, discussing Wills and who will deal with your assets, settle your outstanding liabilities and distribute the balance of your estate in accordance with your Will can help families avoid possible complications when loved ones pass away.
It is important to realise that if you do not have a legally binding Will, your inheritance may be passed on in a way in which you don't desire according to the intestacy rules.
While there is an expectation among loved ones and family members that they will be 'left something in your Will' - there are instances where the Will maker may want to exclude a particular relative.
A case in England in July 2015 saw a woman successfully claim £163,000 from her mother's estate following a Court of Appeal decision against the four charities that her mother had wanted to inherit.
The whole issue of Wills and inheritance is a sensitive one, and a topic which leads to the ostrich effect for many of us - until such a time when it becomes a matter of urgency or, in some cases, too late.
My colleagues and I would urge everyone, regardless of age or status, to make a Will and get their affairs in order so that when the time comes, those loved ones left behind are not faced with legal challenges and/or additional personal heartache.
If you have not prepared a Will, Intestacy Rules will apply instead. These effectively mean:
- Your spouse or civil partner may only be entitled to part of your estate;
- Your children or grandchildren will inherit your assets at age 18, which you may feel is too young; and
- Only blood relatives and your spouse or civil partner can benefit. Your in-laws, friends and unmarried partner (whether having lived with you for many years or not) will NOT inherit your estate