Many people today still fail to make a will - they assume that everything will be all right; that their money and property will automatically go to their family. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
If you die without leaving a will, the law has to decide how to split up what you leave. The people you thought you had left well provided for could face some very upsetting problems.
If you are not married, and have no relatives, and fail to make a will, everything could even go to the State.
Making a will is a certain way of choosing who will benefit - family, friends or charities you have supported. Death duties will also be avoided.
When someone dies, their next of kin may need a grant of representation (Probate) to let them deal with the estate of the deceased. If you do need this, or think you might, then you should either contact a solicitor, who can arrange this for you (local firms of solicitors can be found in Yellow Pages), or, you can do it yourself. If you do it yourself, please telephone the Probate & Inheritance Tax Helpline, 0845 3020900, for information, forms and guidance. You could also visit their website: www.theprobateservice.gov.uk
Once you have made your will, it is important that it is kept up to date. Births, marriages and deaths mean that you may need to change the provisions of your will. Check the details regularly - maybe once every two years.
The Natural Death Centre has produced a Death Plan, a printed Advance Funeral Wishes document, and a Living Will, which are all available from The Natural Death Centre, or from the cemetery office. These documents will help you to decide how you would like your funeral to be arranged if you have not appointed executors, and will give you some control over the way in which your burial or cremation is handled.