Pepperells: STARTING A FAMILY? – Why you need a Will…

Charlotte Houghton-Birkett, Private Client Solicitor tells us about why we should consider putting a will in place when starting a family.

Pepperells understands that everyday lives are busy and a Will is not always high on your list of priorities when juggling daily chores, school runs and fun activities for the children. But, have you considered who would do all that and who would look after your child(ren) if you weren’t here anymore.

Here at Pepperells, we suggest that everyone considers getting a Will put in place, and whilst we all hope that there are many more years to come, parents will know that it is always better to be prepared for the unexpected.

Here are some ‘trigger’ events that we would suggest as perfect opportunities to make a new, or update your existing will…

  • Starting a family

  • Buying a home

  • Living with your partner

Starting a family

Have you considered who would look after your child or children if you weren’t here anymore?

Would you want this person chosen for you by someone else?

Within a Will you can do much more than say who is to receive your money. A key feature within a Will as a parent or parent to be, is the ability to appoint guardians. A guardian appointment allows you to say who you want to care for your child or children if all people who have parental responsibility have passed away. Your chosen guardian isn’t always the person an outsider would assume it to be. For example, is it a friend rather than a family member? If so, you need to make your wishes known within your Will.

Buying a home or living with a partner

Do you co-own your property and if so do you know how you own it?

Do you know where your share of the property would pass if you died?

If unequal equity was put into the property, have you ensured you will get your share back if the property was to be sold?

There are two ways to ‘own’ a home and this is a choice you will have made when signing your conveyancing paperwork. If you hold your house as joint tenants, your share of the house automatically passes to the survivor on the Deeds, regardless of any wishes outlined in your Will. If you hold your property as tenants in common there is no automatic assumption of where your share passes, as such you need a Will to outline where you wish for your share to pass. If you don’t have a Will in place and your estate passes under the ‘intestacy rules’ then your closest living family member would receive your estate. There is no automatic protection for a couple who are not married or in a civil partnership in this instance.

Furthermore, if you put unequal deposits down on the home, unless you have stipulated by a Deed signed by all parties, there is no automatic right to have your higher deposit returned on the sale of the property. Unless stated otherwise the assumption is 50/50.

The idea of passing away at a younger age is scary and something we can’t always control. By getting a Will you can implement some control in the areas you can.

  • Don’t leave it up to chance who would raise your child.

  • Don’t risk co owning your house with your partners parent or sibling.

  • Don’t risk losing your financial contribution if the property when the property is sold.

Pepperells have been providing Lincolnshire families with advice and guidance for over 30 years and have offices in Lincolnshire, East Yorkshire and the North East. They offer a free, no obligation conversation and have experts ready to assist via telephone, live chat, video call or face to face.

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