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After Death Choices For The Living

Jan 24, 2008
However little you think you may have, making a will is as important as if you were wealthy. And your current state of health, however good, is not a reason for putting it off. If you have no property or savings to leave to your next of kin, would you necessarily want to leave them with your debts and problems? Of course not.

There are decisions to be made regarding who will look after underage children. Who will receive any property, personal belongings or money and also who will take responsibility for your funeral and all the administration that goes along with sorting things out in the event of your death.

A Living Will is an option to set out in writing your wishes in the event of your becoming too ill to communicate. It will state at what stage of deterioration you want medical intervention either stopped or continued. This is the only thing that medical staff are obliged to listen to. If you leave these difficult decisions to relatives, the doctors do not have to observe them.

If you own property, even if it is mortgaged, making a will is important as it sets out your wishes as to who will inherit your home, belongings and/or money. It declares one responsible person to take care of all your affairs, arrange your funeral (although this can be covered in your will) and pay your debts from your estate.

If you die without a will, called dying 'intestate', affairs can get complicated and messy. The law sets out who will inherit what regarding your property and belongings and sometimes family members can disagree with the decision, seeing it as unfair. Stepchildren never inherit if a person dies intestate and this can cause bad feeling.

Under the Administration of Estates Act 1925, close relatives can apply to deal with your estate in the event of your dying without a making a will. There is a set order to who can apply and if it is the children of the deceased, they will each have an equal right so it is usually based on a first come, first served basis. It is much more beneficial for the children to agree as debates and wrangling only serve to make lawyers richer.

Any relative or very close friend can contest a will if they do not agree with it but it can prove costly and time consuming, taking many months or even years to settle.

Without a will, the family have a set order of importance according to law. Inheritance levels will decrease the further away you are related. Civil partnerships are recognised and are credited the same tax awards as a husband and wife.

Inheritance tax can be an issue if your estate amounts to more than 300,000. pounds The executor of your will is liable for this and should make arrangements for it to be paid out of your estate. They should also apply for a probate form. This is legal proof that you have the right to a deceased persons bank accounts and insurance policies so that you are able to deal with them accordingly.

It is absolutely essential for the person holding the probate that they act in accordance with everything set out in the will. If not done so to the letter, they will be in trouble with the courts. Debts do not die with a person and have to be paid out of the estate. If there is very limited funds, the law dictates which debts should be paid first.

To save your family the added anguish of having to divide up all your worldly belongings on the event of your death, making a will is an important part of life.
About the Author
Family law expert Catherine Harvey looks at the reasons for making a will and the peace of mind it brings. To find out more please visit http://www.willdrafters.com/
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