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Do You Need a Will When Buying a House?

There are a lot of questions that pop up when buying a house with one of the most common ones being whether or not you need to have a will in place to make the purchase. While the short answer is no, a will is not legally required, it can make a lot of sense to put one in place.

Why create a will?

A will is a legal document that helps to sort out your affairs and settle your estate in the case of your death. This can be very helpful if there are several possible beneficiaries, as it ensures that your property and belongings are passed on to the individual(s) of your choice.

This can help to minimise tension between beneficiaries by creating a smooth and easy process to follow when distributing your estate. Furthermore, it allows you to ensure that any minor children are cared for financially until they are of legal age to take control of their inheritance.

Will I own my house if I die?

If you have a mortgage then it is highly recommended that you take out life insurance. This means that even if you only have a small amount of equity in your property, with the mortgage covering the rest, the house will be paid off if you die. Having life insurance can drastically reduce the stress and worry that your partner or dependants will face and will ensure that they can keep a roof over their heads.

In a situation where you and your partner die together, having a will organised will make it much easier to make arrangements for your estate. Organising a will helps to safeguard your children if the worst does happen, ensuring that they are looked after and that your estate is properly managed.

Inheritance tax implications

Even if you have a will in place, there may still be inheritance tax to pay on your property. For most situations, this tax will need to be paid within 6 months from the date when the individual passed away. The current inheritance tax threshold stands at £325,000, so if the estate is valued for under this amount then there will be no tax to pay.

You are able to gift your estate to certain parties who are exempt from this tax, including:

•    Your spouse
•    UK Charities
•    National Institutions
•    A UK political party

(Read more: How to limit your inheritance tax bill)

How do I get a will?

If you decide to get a will when buying a house then you should draw up a comprehensive list of all your assets. This will give you a much better idea about which items you need to specifically name in your will and you will be able to decide in advance who you wish it to go to after your death.

Enlisting the services of a solicitor can be extremely useful when drafting up a will, as they will ensure that all the wording is legally sound and there are no loopholes that could endanger your estate. Once the will has been written up it will be permanent unless you decide to change it or draft up a new one entirely.

Does a will affect the conveyancing process?

No. Whether or not you have a will is completely independent from conveyancing and as such will not affect the process in any way.

If you want to find out more about conveyancing or creating a will, talk to Howells Solicitors today. We are award winning conveyancing solicitors and can provide expert legal advice on both the process of buying a home and creating a will. To find out more call us today on 0808 178 2273.

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