Do you need a will if you're single?

Do you need a will if you’re single?

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Do you need a will if you’re single? If you’re not married or in a civil partnership, you might not think you need a will. Lots of people sort out their wills when they get married or have children. But it might be worth having a will. Especially if you’re in a relationship but not married or in a civil partnership. Find out more.

Do you need a will if you’re single?

If you don’t mind where your money goes after you’ve died and you don’t have any treasured possessions (or pets) that you’d like to pass on, you may feel a will is something you can do without.

SAVVY TIP: By law, only jointly owned property that you own as joint tenants, and money in joint savings, automatically passes to the other owner.

Anything else you own will be passed on according to the laws of intestacy.

SAVVY TIP: I’ve written an article that spells out what will happen to things you own if you don’t have a will. You can read the article on what do you do if someone dies without a will elsewhere in this section.

If you have a will, you can decide who inherits

The intestacy rules are rather clunky in that relatives tend to get everything or nothing, depending on who else is alive at the time you die.

SAVVY TIP: It’s not just about passing on money. If you have a treasured possession or valuable work of art, you can make sure it goes to someone who will appreciate it. And if you have a pet that will need care after you die, you can nominate someone to look after him/her. I’ve written an article called What can you do to make sure your pet is looked after when you die?, which is elsewhere on this section.

You can appoint executors

If you don’t have a will, you don’t have a say in who sorts out your affairs after your death.

If your circumstances have changed, you should review your will

If you were married, but have since got divorced, your will is still valid (contrary to popular belief).

SAVVY TIP: In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, your ex husband or civil partner wouldn’t receive anything you’d left him or her in a will you’d written while you were married, after you got divorced. But divorce wouldn’t affect any inheritance you’d left to your ex husband’s relatives (such as parents, for example). In Scotland, divorce doesn’t revoke a will.

You can leave money to charity

Charities rely on money donated to them in wills to finance their activities. Leaving money to charity in your will is an easy way of supporting their activities – and it’s tax efficient.

SAVVY TIP: I’ve written an article called How to leave money to charity in your will (and save tax), which explains what you can do.

Related articles:

Setting up a lasting power of attorney

Dying tidily — how to make life easier for your husband or partner

The inheritance tax allowance is worth £325,000; how can you cut your inheritance tax bill?

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