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Wills, Probate & Trust

We’ve just bought our first home – why do we need a will? We aren’t married yet.

Friday, March 1, 2024

Sam and Phillip have just moved into their first home together. Their solicitor has suggested they make Wills, something they had never even thought about, assuming Wills are just for ‘old people’!

However, Sam and Phillip have just made one of the biggest financial and emotional commitments of their lives and it is vitally important that they protect each other in the event of one of their deaths.

If you die without a valid Will, the law dictates who inherits everything that you have in accordance with a set of rules called the Intestacy Rules. The Intestacy Rules do not recognise unmarried couples and this means that if Sam were to die, Phillip would not receive anything from her, or vice versa. Arguably, therefore, it is more important for Sam and Phillip to make Wills now than if they were married.

Sam and Phillip should seek advice from a qualified solicitor specialising in Will writing. A solicitor will first conduct a fact find to establish what assets the couple have to leave in their Wills. An important aspect of this fact find for Sam and Phillip and couples like them, is the ownership of their home. Depending on how the beneficial interest in the home is held, the couple may or may not be able to leave their respective shares in their home to people other than each other. Of course, they may wish for the property to pass to the survivor on them in the event of their death, however, it may also be desired or necessary to consider contributions towards the property by any family members etc. If Sam and Phillip decide to leave their home to people other than each other, they may then need to consider the terms on which the survivor of them can occupy the property. A solicitor will be able to discuss the couple’s wishes with them and draft Wills for them that do exactly what they want them to do.

The fact find process of making a Will may also consider financing of their home. Sam and Phillip have a large mortgage secured against their property and if one of them were to die the survivor would not be able to fund the mortgage and bills alone. Sam and Phillip are therefore seeking advice from a financial advisor on life insurance. Their Will writing solicitor will discuss whether such policies are or can be written into trust to make them as tax efficient as possible too.

In summary, although Sam and Phillip are young and healthy, unfortunately, we never know what is round the corner and it is vital that they have Wills in place should the worst happen to them. Being unmarried but sharing a main asset means careful consideration needs to be made to the decisions being made in their Wills, and their solicitor has explained everything to them and ensured they understand the consequences of their decisions and that their individual wishes are accurately reflected in their Wills. Although Sam and Phillip were concerned about costs of making Wills in light of their house purchase (they have a full house to furnish!), the costs were less than they anticipated, and they are relieved to have ticked this task off their to do list.

You can contact Samuel Phillips Law on 0191 232 8451 or email admin@samuelphillips.co.uk to obtain your quote.

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