Do I Need a Will?
Why you should make a Will
The simple answer to the question "Do I need a Will?" is an emphatic YES. Every adult should make a Will and review it regularly, particularly if their circumstances change significantly. For example, if you get married, have children or get divorced, it’s likely that you’ll want to update your Will (in fact, it’s very important to note that getting married invalidates any Will you may have made beforehand).
So why write a Will? There are four main reasons…
- The most obvious reason to write a Will is so that you can decide who should benefit from your property and possessions (the beneficiaries) after your death. If you pass away having failed to make a will, you are said to have died “intestate”. This means your estate will be distributed under this country’s intestacy rules – which may mean that those who you would have liked to provide for receive little, or even nothing at all, and that others may benefit whom you did not wish to do so.
- Another reason to write a Will is to avoid Inheritance Tax. Inheritance Tax may be payable by your estate on assets over £325,000, reducing the amount which will be passed to your beneficiaries. You might think this sounds like a large amount of money and that you couldn’t possibly be affected, but with the majority of people now owning their own properties it is worth sitting down to work out what your estate would be worth if you were to die tomorrow. You need to take into account your house, furniture, car, savings and all your personal belongings, plus any death benefits under pension or life policies. There are some simple things that can be done during your lifetime and under your Will to reduce or negate any Inheritance Tax liability. It may be worth consulting a solicitor specialising in Wills to find out other ways in which this tax can be avoided or reduced.
- Another point for making a Will is that, if you have children, it will allow you to appoint guardians who will be responsible for your children's upbringing if neither parent is alive. This means that you can appoint someone you trust to look after your children, as well as giving them the legal right to hold the children’s inheritance in trust until such a time as they are considered legal adults and permitted to receive it.
- And the fourth reason is, why not? There really is no excuse to avoid or put off making a Will…
“It’s too morbid”?
It may seem a depressing topic to approach, but we do all die eventually – and making a Will won’t kill you. By taking responsibility and preparing for the inevitable, you can ensure that your loved ones will be spared a whole host of legal difficulties after you pass on – with a little forethought, you may be able to save them a great deal of stress and heartache at what will no doubt be a difficult time.
“I'm too young”?
If you are old enough to drink and vote, then you should be responsible enough to make a Will. There’s no reason a mature adult should not be able to plan ahead in such a fashion – even if it seems unlikely, why take the risk?
“It’s too time consuming” (or the "I can't be bothered" argument)
You'd be amazed how quick it is. True, it will need some thought from you regarding who gets what, but the actual process of drawing up the Will is really very straightforward these days, particularly with the aid of computers.
“It’s too expensive”
Just plain wrong. A solicitor may charge you as little as £100 for a straightforward Will, and if you and your partner create identical Wills (mirror Wills) you are likely to get the pair at a reduced rate for the two. What’s more, our professional Will-writing service offers even lower rates.
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