Do I still need a Will if I am married?Smart Will
Do I still need a Will if I am married?
People often wonder whether they need a Will if they are married and it’s easy to get confused about the rules.
In this post, we’d like to give you the facts around inheritance for married couples.
The first thing to say is that if you have recently got married then this is the ideal time to review your Will and of course if you haven’t got one, to rectify this.
Your Will can take precedence over the fact that you are married and so it is important to make sure that it continues to reflect your wishes.
However, it is worth noting that if you haven’t included a contemplation of marriage clause in your Will then you will be considered to have died without one (known as intestate).
In this case, whilst you may have wanted to pass some assets to your family or friends, you may not get a chance.
Dying without a Will
When people die intestate then the rules of intestacy take over.
This means that the estate is allocated to beneficiaries according to a set legal formula.
If you die intestate but don’t have children then your surviving spouse will inherit everything.
If you die without a Will but you do have children then your personal effects and the first £250,000 of your estate will pass directly to your spouse.
If your estate is worth more than £250,000 then half of everything over that value will again go to your spouse.
The remainder is split equally between any children once they reach the age of 18.
Smart tax planning requires a Will
The bedrock of efficient inheritance tax planning is the Will.
Not only does it reflect your wishes for your estate but it can also be used to ensure that your beneficiaries do not pay more tax than they ought.
Many people forget to update their Will when they get married and this could cause problems later on and if you haven’t got one then it is one of the first things you need to do after your wedding.
Your tax advisor may suggest using trusts to pass assets to beneficiaries and checking the status of the ownership of your house.
All of these are directly affected by your marital status.
It’s also important to remember that pensions and life insurance won’t automatically be paid to the spouse on death.
Normally, upon taking out these types of products the customer is asked to fill in a nomination form to show who should receive the benefit.
If you haven’t completed one of these, or if it is now outdated then you should contact your insurance or pension company immediately.
If you are married then now is the time to act
For married people, it is a mistake to automatically assume that their spouse will be taken care of on their death.
As we have seen the wishes expressed in your Will may not actually be valid or may contradict what you would like to happen now.
It is always best to review your Last Will when you get married and we’d suggest reviewing upon any major life event such as the birth of a child or grandchild. By the same token, a periodic review is also important.
With the SmartWill app, you get free amendments for life which means that you really have no excuse not to make sure your Will is totally up to date.