Zoe Olender, Conveyancing Solicitor discuses the reasons house buyers are asked about a Will
Q: I am purchasing a property and my solicitor has asked if I have a Will. Why is this?
A: When you purchase a property you acquire probably the most valuable asset you will ever own and the concern is what will happen to that asset on your death. Most of us prefer not to consider our death, or think that we are young and it is not a pressing concern, but the truth is that death is a certainty and it is a question of when not if.
When you die any property that you own personally, or which you have a share in, will pass in accordance with the terms of your Will. If you do not have a Will then the Intestacy Rules will be followed and may not fit with how you would wish your estate to be distributed.
For example; a married couple living in the family home, this is only in the husband’s name and is worth £350,000. The husband has a son from a previous marriage and so if he doesn’t have a Will then Intestacy Rules state the wife is entitled to the first £250,000 and the remainder of the estate is split; half for the wife and half for the son. If the husband had no other assets then the matrimonial home would have to be sold to enable the son to receive his share. It is likely that, if he had considered it, the husband thought that his wife would inherit the property on his death, and he certainly would not have anticipated, or wanted, that she would be forced to sell her home to pay the son his entitlement.
There are many examples of how Intestacy Rules do not provide what many of us would expect to be the outcome on our death. The only way you can be certain as to what happens to your property on your death is to have a Will.