Buy a house, make a will!
Barbara Watson, solicitor at ESPC Member Firm ELP talks us through the importance of making a will.
For most people buying their own home is one of the biggest financial commitments that they can make. While there is obviously a great satisfaction to be had in owning your own home, home ownership comes with a whole raft of responsibilities.
You've bought your home, but that's just the start. There is a monthly mortgage to be paid, Council Tax, utilities, insurance, and of course the cost of maintaining the property and carrying out upgrading work also becomes your responsibility.
A very expensive asset
On a more basic level, however, once you buy a home you acquire a very expensive asset and, assuming that you have insurance cover in place to ensure that any mortgage is paid off in the event of your death, you will suddenly find yourself in the position of having a substantial estate in the event of your death. Once you own a house it is therefore essential that you consider making a Will.
Buying with a friend or partner
This is particularly true if you are buying with a friend or partner.where unless you are married or are in a civil partnership then, in the absence of a Will, your share of the property would pass to your children or, if you have none, to your parents and siblings in the first instance. While your partner might be able to petition the Court to ask for a share of your estate, it is not certain that they would receive anything (and indeed you might be horrified to think they could!), and in the end your partner might be forced to sell the property or to try to raise finance to buy out your share of the property.
Be slightly more creative
By writing a Will you can ensure that the property or your share of it passes to those you wish to have it. There are also opportunities to be slightly more creative. If, for example you are getting on in years, you might wish to leave your share of the house to your children reserving only a right to live in the property to your partner – thus potentially protecting your share of the house against being used for the care costs of your partner, but securing his or her home for as long as they need it.
Even on a purely practical level having a Will makes the whole process of dealing with your estate much cheaper, simpler and quicker for the family – a legacy everyone would surely like to leave. So once you have purchased a property and have acquired such a valuable asset don’t forget to see your solicitor about making a Will as soon as possible.
About the author
Barbara Watson is a solicitor at ELP Solicitors with many years of experience in dealing with property matters. She is also experienced in the field of Wills, Powers of Attorney and Estates, being a member of STEP (The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners). Barbara is committed to providing excellent advice in a friendly and efficient manner and is always happy to have a chat with anyone requiring a bit of guidance.