Putting off writing a will is unfortunately way too common. 😔
It can be seen as a complicated process, a waste of time, or something that can be done later. In reality, writing a will can be quite easy and is essential in ensuring your wishes are met and your family is protected, no matter what.
We’re going to go through some key reasons why you should make a will, and make it today. 👇
5 reasons why you should make a will ✔️
1. Protect non-legal relationships
Imagine, for a moment, that you pass away and your partner of 3 years doesn’t get anything, but your estranged wife is entitled to your whole estate.
If you die without a will, your estate will fall under the rules of intestacy. This lays out who will inherit your estate, including a spouse or civil partner, children, parents, legally adopted children, (step-children not included) and even nieces and nephews, and half siblings.
The problem is, is that it’s very structured and family dynamics are not always that straightforward. Being able to put your wishes in a will means that the rules of intestacy don’t need to come into place. Your wishes will be carried out, to protect any relationships that aren’t recognized in the law such as step-children, partners, friends etc. To learn more about what to do if there is no will, read our article about what happens when you die without a will.
2. Make it easier for your family 👪
Sorry to be blunt, but if you die without a will, you’re leaving someone with the incredibly hard task of sorting your estate. Trying to deal with this while grieving is not an easy task, and to add to that, it can be a long and complex process.
Without a will, your closest relative would have to apply for letters of administration. They would then need to get the estate valued, pay any debts and distribute the assets according to the law.
3. Name a child’s guardian
If both parents are to pass away, someone will become a legal guardian to your young children. If you don’t have a will, then this may end up being decided in the family courts and they may end up with someone you wouldn’t have approved of.
In your will, you can put down who you want to look after your children. If you’re doing this, it’s best to ask (or tell) the potential guardians beforehand. You may have asked them to be godparents but that isn’t legally binding.
4. Control the inheritance tax
At a basic level, inheritance tax (IHT) is payable at 40% on anything over the £325,000 threshold. The rules of IHT, however, can be more complicated than that, with exemptions, discounts etc. An example of this is if you give 10% or more to charity in your will, the tax due drops to 36%.
Writing a will allows you to control your estate and the funds within it. Anything left to a spouse, for example, would be exempt from tax (no brainer! 🧠). During this process, you can look at the rules of inheritance tax and work out how to best approach it.
5. Financially provide for your children
Writing a will helps to secure your children's financial future after you are gone. You can be very specific in terms of how and when they receive money. This can be set aside for education or even to help with a future home.
Setting up a trust is also a common feature of a will. A trust can be set up while you’re still alive, and it can help create structure after you’re gone.
Along with the 5 key reasons above, here we take a quick look at some other reasons why creating a will is SO important.
To choose an executor – Someone needs to carry out your wishes. Choose the person who is best suited for this role.
If you want to support a charity – Many people give to charity in their will. This can be a monetary amount or even an asset.
To prevent disputes – Making a will reduces the chances of family disputes. If your wishes are clearly written down, then it’s unlikely they’ll be contested.
For control of assets – Some assets may have sentimentality and you want them to go to the right person. Pets are another key aspect to take into consideration.
Creating a will can provide a peace of mind for your family and dependants. It’s truly a priceless gift, and it’s best to get it done as soon as you can. 🎁