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Myth Buster: Debunking Myths About Wills



Debunking the Top 8 Myths Surrounding Wills in the UK


Creating a legally sound and comprehensive Will is essential to ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes after your passing. However, misconceptions about the process often lead to misunderstandings and mistakes. In this legal blog, we'll debunk the Top 8 myths surrounding Wills in the UK and provide accurate answers to help you navigate this important aspect of estate planning.


Myth 1: "I'm too young to write a Will."


Age is not the sole factor in determining when to create a will. Any adult in the UK, regardless of age, should consider drafting a Will as soon as they acquire valuable assets, have dependents, or wish to specify their wishes for property distribution. Without a will, the intestacy laws might govern asset distribution, potentially leading to unintended outcomes.


Myth 2: "A verbal Will is valid."


Verbal wills, also known as oral wills, are not recognised in the UK. For a Will to be legally binding, it must be in writing and signed by the testator (the person making the will) in the presence of two witnesses, who must also sign the document. Verbal instructions, while not legally binding, could be used as evidence in court to support a claim, but it's far better to have a written Will to avoid complications.


Myth 3: "I can write my own Will without legal assistance."


While it's possible to create a DIY Will, seeking legal advice is highly recommended. Legal professionals can ensure your Will meets all legal requirements and is clear in its instructions, reducing the risk of ambiguities or disputes. A well-drafted Will minimises the potential for costly legal battles and ensures your intentions are accurately captured.


Myth 4: "Once I create a Will, I can't change it."


Wills are not set in stone; you can update or change your Will whenever your circumstances or wishes change. This is done through a legal process called a codicil (an amendment to the existing will) or by creating a new Will that revokes the old one. Regularly reviewing and updating your Will is essential to reflect your current situation and intentions accurately.


Myth 5: "I don't need a Will because I have a joint bank account/property ownership."


Joint ownership and beneficiary designations do affect the distribution of assets but might not cover all your assets or address every situation. A Will allows you to specify your wishes for assets not covered by joint ownership, such as personal items, investments, or assets acquired after the joint ownership was established. It also provides an opportunity to name guardians for minors and express other personal wishes.


Myth 6: ‘’I Don’t Need A Will If You Are Married’’


If you don’t have a Will your whole estate won’t necessarily go to your spouse. Depending on the size of your estate, your children may be entitled to a share. By making a Will you can say exactly who inherits.


Myth 7: ‘’I Don’t Need A Will. If I Leave It, It Will All Work Itself Out’’


This certainly might happen. But, there is much more likely to be a dispute between your family and friends after your death if you have not made a Will setting out your wishes. Making a Will benefits you now, in that you know that the future is sorted. But it also benefits your loved ones, who will know exactly what you wanted to happen.


Myth 8: ‘’You Only Need A Will If You Are Wealthy’’


Wills deal with much more than just “wealth”. For example, in a Will you can appoint guardians to look after children under 18 and trustees who will look after their inheritance until they reach an age that you can choose. Or if it’s your intention, you can ensure that if you are not married, your partner will still inherit your share in your home. You can also deal with personal effects and who inherits them. Likewise, if you have specific wishes for your funeral, you can note this in your will. So, Wills are absolutely not only for the wealthy!


Debunking Myths About Wills


Dispelling these common myths surrounding Wills in the UK emphasises the importance of having a clear, legally valid Will. Writing a Will with the guidance of legal professionals ensures your final wishes are respected, reduces the likelihood of disputes, and offers peace of mind for both you and your loved ones. Remember that estate planning is an ongoing process, and reviewing your Will periodically is crucial to adapt to changes in your life circumstances.


If you would like to talk about making plans for the future, our team is here to help. Book an appointment online, or call us free on 01685 373721 or email info@rjmsolicitors.co.uk to discuss.

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