Wills and testaments

When a person dies without leaving a will, the law dictates what happens to their possessions: be it a few pounds, some cherished objects or jewellery or a large amount of money. Whatever the amount of property no account will be given to the wishes of the deceased without a will.

When somebody dies without a will the law says he or she is "intestate". The property, the person's "estate", is divided among members of the family under strict rules contained in the Administration of Estates Act, after all bills are paid.

Wills sound like a very complicated legal process, which tends to make people shirk away from them. In truth a will is a letter of wish of how someone's assets should be distributed in the event of their death. It becomes a little more complicated when there are children and relatives to be taken into consideration.

There is no necessity to have a will drawn up by a solicitor but great care needs to be taken as sorting out an unclear will can lead to long and expensive court cases. There are many books and guides and printed forms available to help you. Nowadays you can download wills from the Internet or buy them in a standard format from legal stationers. There are also will writers and advice on-line (for examples, see links below).

Some people believe that writing a will is morbid and somehow tempting fate, others never quite get around to it while some people make several wills during their lifetime as circumstances change. To help those who live on after, and to ensure that your property is dealt according to your wishes, you need to make a will.

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Last Updated: 01/07/2014