The 5 Common Misconceptions About Wills: Debunked

Think you know all you need to about wills? Don’t underestimate this essential legal document, it could be a matter of life and death one day.

No matter how tough it is to consider your mortality, ensuring you’re in the know will protect your estate and your loved ones over the long term.

A tricky subject? Certainly. A worthwhile thing to do? Absolutely.

Read these 5 common misconceptions to dispel any bad information you’ve picked up over the years and to get to grips with your will today…

Misconception #1:
I don’t need a will, I want my other half to inherit everything

If you’re in a relationship and want your other half to inherit everything, you may still need to prepare a will. Only in instances where a legally married couple have no children will the spouse inherit the entire estate if no will is in place.

For couples with children the first £250,000 of an estate, alongside personal possessions, will go to the surviving spouse. The remainder of the estate will typically be divided equally between any children in cases where no will is left. If you wish for your entire estate to go to your spouse, a will is essential.

For unmarried couples who are not in a civil partnership this is even more important. For “other halves” who are not legally married, it is unlikely the surviving partner will have any entitlement to your estate whatsoever. The rules of intestacy do not recognise unmarried partners without a civil partnership. A will, in these cases, is absolutely crucial.

Misconception #2:
I don’t need a will, my family understand my wishes

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Unfortunately, without a will, your family will have little power to control what happens to your estate, no matter how well they understand your wishes. If what you want is not in your will, the law will dictate who administers your affairs, receives your assets and is responsible for the welfare of any children you may leave behind. Putting your wishes down in the correct legal form is vital.

Misconception #3:
My debts will be cleared upon my death

This is not true. The executors of your will are responsible for paying any creditors you may have after your death. They will have the power to liquidate your assets in order to repay any remaining debs and liabilities. It is only when funds from your estate run dry that any leftover debts will be written off, even if that means taking assets apportioned to beneficiaries.

Misconception #4:
Executors cannot be beneficiaries

Again, this is a common misconception with no grounding in reality. Executors can be beneficiaries in your will if you so choose. You can name 1-4 executors who will be responsible for dealing with your estate after your death, every executor you name can also be a beneficiary in your will. It’s entirely up to you. Many people name their partners as executor and leave them the entire estate. Your legal advisor will be able to provide further guidance to help you make the best decision about your executors.

Misconception #5:
DIY wills save lots of money

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From DIY divorces, to DIY wills, there are lots of “do it yourself” legal services out there, offering you a purportedly cheaper alternative to more traditional legal services. Unfortunately, while these services make sense in theory, in practice they only too often throw up more issues than they solve, leaving executors with a big, costly mess to clear up – with lots of opportunities for your wishes to be contested. This can be very costly for your intended beneficiaries and result in your wishes not being seen through.

How many of common will misconceptions have we debunked for you? Do you have more questions about your will? Our legal experts can help. Get in touch today on 0333 12 12345 for free, specialist advice.

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