Why you should make a Will
Without a Will there could be uncertainty about who will look after or provide for your loved ones when you die.
Here are 10 reasons to help you with your decision to make a Will
- A will lets you leave clear instructions about how your estate is to be distributed. Without one, it is subject to the Intestacy Rules and may not go to the people you would have chosen.
- A Will lets you choose your own Executors. If you die without one, your closest relatives will need to apply for ‘letters of administration’.
- A will lets you appoint Guardians to look after your children until they come of age. You can also make financial arrangements for them, for their benefit.
- A Will allows you to make specific gifts to individuals. These can range from items of jewellery to sums of cash.
- If you have remarried, a Will can ensure any children from previous marriage(s) get a share of your estate and are treated fairly.
- Unmarried partners (and those not in a registered civil partnership) may not receive anything from your estate, unless you have made a Will in their favour.
- If your estate is divided according to the Intestacy Rules, your spouse or civil partner may not receive as much as you would have intended them to.
- If you die without leaving a Will and have no spouse, civil partner or children, your parents or siblings may inherit your estate, even if you would prefer it to go elsewhere.
- The absence of a Will can sometimes lead to family disputes.
- Without a Will, your family could face a larger Inheritance Tax bill than necessary as a Will can help with the tax-planning process.
Why you should make a Will and how often should you review it?
It is particularly important to make a Will if you are part of a couple but are not married or are not in a civil partnership. This is because the law does not automatically recognise cohabitants (partners who live together) as having the same rights as husbands, wives and civil partners. As a result, even if you have lived together for many years, your cohabitant may be left with nothing if you have not made a Will.
A Will is also vital if you have children or dependants who may not be able to care for themselves. Without a Will there could be uncertainty about who will look after them and make decisions on their future.
You should review your Will at least every 5 years to take into account any major life changes such as relationship status, children or moving house.
Why use a Solicitor?
We can advise you on how to structure your Will to ensure it is valid and includes all the provisions that are needed.
We will take into account:
- Who gets what – do you want to leave items to family, friends and loved ones or perhaps a charity?
- What your family looks like – do you have children under 18 who may need a named legal guardian? Have you remarried or are you living with someone without being their civil partner?
- Your wishes – do you have any particular wishes or thoughts for your funeral or do you have any other instructions?
- Executors of your Will – who do you want to administer your Will and sort out your affairs after your death?
Once a Will has been drawn up it needs to be signed to be effective. There are rules as to how a Will is signed and who can witness it. We can provide guidance and a witness for you.
Your Will must be kept in a safe place; we can store it for you in our Strong Room and provide you with a copy. Be sure to tell your Executors, or a close friend or relative where it is held.
For further information or advice, please contact us.