Around 50% of my new clients either don’t have a will, or their will is no longer current. Often people assume that as they are married, if they die then their assets will go to their partner. This is usually not true. Yes, if you die and have no parents or children living, your estate will go to your partner. But if you have children or living parents, your money won’t go where you think.
Depending on whether you have a partner, children, step-children, a blended family, siblings, grandparents, there are different rules as to where your assets will go if you have no will. Even a quite common scenario as partner plus kids will see two thirds of your money doing directly to your children (after certain payments to your partner).
The other aspect to consider is that if you don’t have a will, someone will have to find your relatives. The old joke about where there’s a will, there’s a relative is true, but the problem is that someone has to find them all. That costs time and money. Such a process can easily take 6 to 12 months.
The worst-case scenario is that if no relatives can be found, your money goes to the Government, probably the last thing you would want.
If you thought living was complex, try dying without a will! I know it is not a cheerful thing to spend money on, but having a will is part of being a grown-up. It will save your loved ones a whole lot of grief, if you’ll pardon the pun.
Mark Lynch is a Financial Adviser. His Disclosure Statement is available free upon request. Any comments in this column are the opinion of the writer and should not be construed as financial advice.