Particular circumstances where a Will is vital:
1. When you have a long term partner but you are not married – Unless you make a Will your partner would get nothing.
2. When you are separated but not divorced – whilst you are still married your estranged spouse would inherit your estate and most separated people really wouldn’t want this to happen.
3. When you are a parent with minor children – it is really important to say who you would like to look after your children if you/your partner were both to die and also who you would like to be responsible for their Trust fund money. Without a Will a court would decide who should look after your children without taking into account your wishes. Your children could end up being looked after by somebody you would not have wanted to look after them, and their Trust fund money could end up being looked after by someone you would not necessarily have chosen to have that responsibility.
4. If you are married but have no children – most couples choose to leave everything to each other on first death, and if there are children they would often divide everything between their children on 2nd death (this is also what would happen under the laws of intestacy if there were no Wills in place); but if there are no children it would depend on the order of death as to who inherits when both parties have died. Without Wills everything would pass from the first to die to the surviving spouse, and then on second death the couples’ joint wealth would pass to the family of the second to die. Very unfair if the one who died first would have liked their family to end up with something after their spouse died. This scenario can also come about where there are children, but they have passed away before the second parent dies.
5. If you have step-children who have not been adopted by you – without a Will only your biological children would inherit; so that child you have brought up as your own would end up with nothing.