Why make a Will?
If you own your home and die, what happens to it will depend on your circumstances and whether you’ve made a Will. Making a Will means that you’re free to leave your home to whomever you want. If you haven’t made a Will, then there are legal rules which define who gets what from your estate. This may not always be what you want.
If you own property, making a Will is a must if you’re living with someone. It’s important, especially if you are not married or in a civil partnership. Unless you jointly own the home, it may not be possible for them to stay in the house after you die. If you’re married, the likelihood is that you’ll own your home with your partner. Whatever the circumstances, as joint tenants, should one of you die, the house automatically passes to the survivor. The issue to watch out for is if you instead own the property as ‘tenants in common’. This means that each owns an identifiable share in the house. If you die, you’re free to leave your share of the property to whomever you want as long as you’ve made a Will.
If you own property, making a Will offers a number of benefits. The main one is that you can say what you want to happen to your home. If you are living with someone, it enables you to remove the risk that they might have to move out of the property. This can help make things easier for them at what may be a stressful time.
Another reason for having a Will is if you own property overseas. If you die, the rules about what happens to it may differ from those in the UK. It depends on which country the property is in. In some countries, such as those in the EU, it is the state which sets the rules about who inherits what. One way that you can control what happens to any property you have overseas is to have more than one Will. A separate Will can cover just the country your property resides in. It can potentially reduce the risk of errors or problems in the distribution of your estate.
And finally, for peace of mind, if you own property making a Will ensures your wishes will be followed when you die.