Reasons for making a Will
Many people are put off making a Will, because they feel they are not at 'that' stage in their lives yet. However, no matter what age you are or what your personal circumstances may be - making a Will really is a vital part of planning for the future of your loved ones. It is also the only real way of guaranteeing your wishes are respected after your death.
Sadly, many people believe that their spouse will automatically inherit their estate - in fact, if you die without leaving a valid Will, then your estate will pass under the laws of intestacy which determines which family members will take a share of your estate. Without a Will, efficient tax planning opportunities such as inheritance tax planning and the use of trusts will also be lost.
If you have young children, it is essential that you make a Will to appoint guardians to take over parental responsibility in the event that your children are left without a parent. Without an appointed guardian, the courts may have to decide who looks after your children, with results you may not like. If you already have a Will, it is important to ensure that your Will covers any children you may have had since making the Will. For more information on Guardianship, please click here.
By making a Will you can ensure that adequate provision is made for your family. You can choose who is responsible for administering your estate, who will care for your children and even specify your wishes in relation to your funeral.
If you do not make a valid Will the law states what happens to your estate and this is known as the rules of intestacy:
If you haven't made a Will:
- your spouse/civil partner may only receive a small part of your estate
- co-habiting partners, non-blood relatives and friends will not automatically receive any part of your estate
- children from a previous relationship may miss out on a share of your estate
- children or grandchildren may receive a share of your estate against your wishes
- your family heirlooms may pass outside of the family
- your entire estate may pass to government funds
Further reasons to make a Will:
- To choose who administers your estate
- To appoint a guardian
- To state any funeral wishes
If you have already made a Will, don't forget you should check that it still reflects your wishes and the value of your estate. Circumstances also change; the birth of children or grandchildren, marriage or indeed divorce can result in the need for amendments to be made.