Wills & Estate Planning
A will is a written declaration of an individual’s wishes regarding what needs to be done after they have died in terms of how their assets has to be allocated and the estate distributed.
The person who makes a will is called a Testator and can cancel or modify the will at any time. In the event of marriage, remarriage or entering into a civil partnership, an existing will is automatically revoked, unless specifically written in contemplation of the change of status.
The individuals designated to distribute the estate of someone who has died are known as the personal representatives and executors of the will. However, before the executor is to distribute the estate, they must apply for a grant of probate, which gives them legal authority to undertake the testator’s instructions, as per the will.
Where there is no will, usually a spouse or other close relative acts as an administrator and applies for the grant of letters of administration, rather than probate. The administrator’s responsibility is to deal with the estate as prescribed by the rules of intestacy. The distribution of the estate of a person who has died without a will or will is invalid is determined by a complex set of rules known as the rules of intestacy and these rules are very specific.
In several instances the distribution of the assets may not be as the deceased would have wished and the common misconception is that a surviving spouse or civil partner will receive the whole estate.
Hence, Will writing is extremely important tool in order to have control over an estate, hence a very essential aspect of financial planning.
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