Writing a Will is an uncomfortable thought, as it reminds us of our own mortality. It is also often considered by some to be a job for the retired which is why millions of people still haven’t made one! Insurer Aviva’s Real Retirement Report discovered that more than two-fifths of those over 55 had not written a Will.
The simple fact is that no-one knows what is around the corner whether you are 20, 30, 40 or older and we now live in a society that demands choice so why do we choose to ignore such an important contract which legally declares your choice with what happens to your assets, no matter how small.
As soon as you start earning a salary, buying cars and property, having children or building relationships with others who have family, saving for pensions or ISA’s, starting businesses etc., you should think about what happens to your assets or your children if you were suddenly not here.
- We all make assumptions that monies would go to our partners, spouse, parents or children but is that what happens?
- What if you are a single parent, will your child be well cared for?
- What if both parents are affected, what happens to the house and who cares for the children?
- In more complicated family structures where there are two or more families to consider, how will the assets be divided?
- What happens if you are not married?
- What happens if you divorce, does your ex still have a claim to your estate?
- What happens if you don’t have any direct family?
- What happens to a family business?
If you feel uncomfortable reading these questions then you need to make a Will. We don’t seem to have any trouble arranging Life insurance so why is writing a Will any different? You are simply preparing for any unfortunate events which will affect your loved ones. You can have your Last Will and Testament put in writing so there is never any doubt what your wishes are for your family and friends. When the Will is done, you are unlikely to have to think about it again unless your circumstances change.
5 Reasons to get a Will:
- In the absence of a will:--The Government chooses for you and decides who gets what from your estate. Normally a spouse is the first beneficiary but they won’t necessarily receive everything. The children and grandchildren are the second beneficiaries followed by parents and siblings or their children. The process continues including any half-siblings or their children, grandparents, uncles and aunts or their children and finally half-uncles and aunts or their children. Where there are no relatives, your estate goes to the Crown, or the Duchies of Cornwall or Lancaster. (Laws of intestacy).
- You can choose what type of Will you want according to your circumstance, i.e. Single Wills, mirror Wills for couples with the same or similar wishes or Trusts where the estate is managed by individuals (of your choice) on behalf of a beneficiary. (Provides for children or for relatives with mental disabilities).
- You can choose a guardian who you know will raise your child/children the way you want, if both parents die and they can be appointed in the Will. Without a Will, Social Services may intervene and choose for you, who should care for your dependants.
- Making a Will is very cost effective as it could save you a lot of money and stress. Family members, including spouses, children, parents etc. sometimes have to go to Court to prove a deceased persons wish for their estate. Paying a few hundred pounds or less now could save thousands of pounds in tax and legal fees in the future.
- By using a qualified Solicitor to write your Will, to cover ALL the complexities involved in a Will concerning family and financial affairs, you are ensuring your choices legally binding. Often you will need to nominate an Executor to your Will who you trust to see that your Will is adhered to.
NOTE: Beware of cheap non-qualified solicitors and online Will services as a Will can be declared invalid if there are mistakes.
At Thorneycroft solicitors, our lawyers provide a comprehensive service covering a wide range of legal services for families from writing a basic Will for as little as £95 + vat to more complex estate matters, trusts, probate issues and Lasting Powers of Attorney. Contact us on 0800 1979 345 to see how we can help you.