Two important and common life events trigger the need to make a will:
- Having a child
- Purchasing property
Why you need to make a will when you have a child:
- If you and your partner die then a guardian will look after your child while they are under 18. If you don’t make a will appointing a guardian of your choice then any interested person can make an application to the Family Court for an order that they be guardian to your children. This may not be the person who you want to look after your children or would have chosen yourself.
- You need to chose someone who will take care of your finances. If you die without a will a court appointed administrator will control your finances and this person will appoint a trustee to look after your children’s inheritance until they turn 18. By making a will you choose who will take on this role, rather than having the court decide.
- If you die without a will then your children will receive their inheritance when they turn 18. However if you make a will you can wait until they are a little older (such as 21 or 25) before they receive the bulk of their inheritance. You can also set up testamentary trusts for your children which can have tax and other benefits.
Why you need to make a will when you purchase property:
- If you and your partner have purchased property as tenants in common or if you own property on your own then you need make a will to choose who will receive your interest in the property. If you are registered as tenants in common your share in the property does not go to the other owner, rather it goes to your beneficiaries as named in your will. If you die without a will then your share in the property will be divided according to the rigid law of intestacy, you don’t get a choice. A table setting out the law of intestacy is available here.
- If you die owning real estate and without a will then it will be necessary for your next of kin (in most cases) to apply for Letters of Administration, rather than the more straight forward process of applying for a grant of probate. Applying for a grant of probate is less complex and less expensive.
- If you and your partner own property jointly then if one of you die the property will automatically pass to the survivor. However if you and your partner and your children happen to die at the same time then the law states that the younger of the two of you will be taken to have died last, meaning that the property will form part of the estate of the youngest person.
- If you have not got a will then this means that the property will go wholly to the family of the youngest person in the couple. However, if you have a Will, you can state that in this situation, your interest in the property can be split 50/50 between both your families.
Oakhill Lawyers can inexpensively prepare a will for you. Spending a small amount of money now will provide you with security and peace of mind and will protect those close to you. For more information on making a will please contact Clare at Oakhill Lawyers.