Many adults in Northern Ireland are yet to have made a Will because they don’t believe they need one or they simply haven’t gotten around to doing it yet. This theory can end up meaning that they risk their finances and personal items going to the wrong people.
There are many myths surrounding Will writing that can confuse things and put people off. McPartland & Sons Solicitors have outlined the main misconceptions and revealed the truth about writing Wills.
MythBusters #1 – Wills are for old people to worry about.
The most common myth is that only old people should have a Will. Yes, that is common, particularly if the person has ill health so has planned to get their affairs in order, but anyone who is over the age of 18 and has mental capacity would have some requirement for a will.
Parents or guardians who have children under the age of 18 need to think about who would look after their children if they were to pass away. This can be incorporated into a Will. You, as the parent, can appoint legal guardians for your children, meaning that they would not risk going into the care of social services if both parents passed away together.
It is important to look after the financial side of things when it comes to writing a Will. If you own a house or you have savings, investments, etc. then you may want to consider making a will. You will be able to name those in your Will with whom you wish to receive any monetary payout or if you wish them to get any personal belongings that you have, particularly of sentimental value.
Myth buster #2 – I’m married or in a civil partnership, so my spouse will receive everything when I pass away.
This misconception is an assumption that people make. Just because they are married or in a civil partnership does not mean their partner will receive or is entitled to everything.
In Northern Ireland after a person’s death, all their assets, including their bank and building society accounts, are automatically frozen. This is the case if they have a will or not. If the deceased died intestate the next of kin will have to apply on oath to the Probate Registry for a grant of letters of administration.
If there are children involved at the time of the death with no valid Will and If the estate is worth less than £250,000, the spouse will inherit the entire estate.
If the estate is worth more than £250,000 and there are children:
- The spouse will get up to £250,000 worth of assets and all the deceased’s personal possessions – if there were no children, it would be £450,000.
- If there is only one child, then the spouse also gets half of the remaining estate, and the child gets the other half.
- If there is more than one child, the spouse gets a third of the remaining estate, and the remaining two thirds is shared between the children.
Myth buster #3 – My children will be looked after by my family.
This will be the case if you have appointed a guardian in your will. If you have no will this might not always be the case and your children might be taken into care by social services depending on the situation.
Guardians will be responsible for raising your children and you should appoint one in a legally binding manner rather than leaving that to the Courts. Choosing a Guardian isn’t easy, and you should consider the qualities and values of several people close to you. It is recommended to select one Guardian preferably or two if they are a couple. It is advisable to seek their consent in advance as you do not want them feeling morally bound but unwilling.
With the above said, it is important that when a life event occurs, you should always review your existing Will or take advice about making a Will to suit your wishes. You can contact a member of the Wills and Probate team today and we would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
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