Although many people have insurance policies and other financial considerations in place to look after their loved ones should they die, making a will is often seen as morbid or unnecessary.
In fact, if you die without having a valid will in place there can be problems and delays in ensuring your loved ones inherit your estate in line with your own wishes. Having a will means that there is a clear and defined record of your own requirements as to what happens to your estate post mortem.
When someone has died there are obviously a number of legal requirements and one of these is to deal with the distribution of his or her estate, meaning their entire range of assets, belongings and financial arrangements.
It is important to establish whether or not there is a will from the very outset, and if so, if it is valid.
Probate and Administration
The next step is to apply for a grant to enable the estate to be distributed. If there is a will it names an executor and a grant of representation is made allowing the named person to access bank accounts and other financial arrangements in order to settle them according to the wishes of the deceased.
If, for some reason, there isn’t an executor then an ‘administrator’ is appointed. This role has basically the same functions as an executor, apart from the fact that they must act in accordance with statute when it comes to disposing of the estate, as opposed to carrying out the express wishes of the deceased.
This is one of the main reasons that having a valid will can be extremely important. Contacting Co-Op Wills Services is an easy route to finding out what kind of things should be in your will and making sure that it conforms to all the necessary standards and requirements to be legal and valid.
When a grant may not be needed
Getting a grant of representation or administration is not always needed, for instance in cases where estates are of a small or limited value, or where the entirety passes to a surviving spouse/civil partner because it was held in joint names.
It is rare that cases where grants of administration are involved lead to surviving spouses or next of kin missing out. However, in some cases the Crown can lay claim to property or land if there is no clear surviving family member or named inheritor.
The bottom line is that making a will is not morbid or difficult, but the absence of one may cause problems for loved ones at a time of great emotional stress.