6 Reasons to Write a Will
It is estimated that over 60% of all adult Brits do not currently have a will. This figure equates to around 30 million people who, as of right now, are unprotected against the unforeseen. Common reasons stated in research as to why people have not made a will include:
- Belief that they have nothing worth inheriting
- They simply haven’t considered making one
- People stating that they are too busy to write a will
The reasons to write a will are significant for everybody, no matter their background or the size of their asset portfolio. This blog will detail the purpose of wills, how to write one, what happens if you die without one, and six key reasons to write a last will and testament.
What is the Purpose of a Last Will and Testament?
The purpose of a last will and testament is to make sure that your loved ones (spouse, partners, children, etc.) are protected should you pass away. It effectively acts as a safety net to make sure that your wishes are followed to the letter, once you have passed on.
Effectively, the purpose of your last will and testament is to ensure that every base is covered against any potential eventuality.
How Do I Write My Last Will and Testament?
Writing your last will and testament has multiple key steps that you must fulfil, this includes:
- Valuing your estate by drawing up a list of your assets and debts
- Determine how you wish your estate to be divided
- Select your executors
- Determine the best type of will for you
- Sign your will
- Store your will for posterity
Everybody making a last will and testament will have unique wishes and circumstances. This means that a will tailored to reflect your exact situation is the best option.
If you require a will on short notice, it is possible to get an express will service which can leave you with a signed will within three working days, or you may also be able to make your own DIY will in minutes.
Ultimately, making a will is extremely important, something that you cannot get wrong, so you’ll want to make sure that everything is done right. This is why specialist support can have its significant benefits compared to the DIY options — ensure your wishes are followed to the letter.
6 Reasons Why Someone Should Make a Will
When it comes to reasons why someone should make a last will and testament, from the ability to naming your children’s guardians and ensuring loved ones are provided for; to avoiding inheritance tax and securing the future of the family home, the justifications can feel overwhelming.
A selection of the reasons why someone should make a will include:
Name Your Children’s Guardians
If you are a parent, the most important thing is to secure the future welfare of your children.
In the event of one parent’s death, the surviving parent will almost certainly gain sole custody, but what happens if both die? Or what if one parent has already passed? These situations are a grey area, and will place your children in a hugely stressful situation, in addition to their grief.
Parents are able to use their will to nominate a legal guardian for any children under 18. This guardian will be the person responsible for the daily needs of your child after you are gone.
Failure to nominate a guardian will result in the courts having to select one for you. This could result in your children being placed into the care of somebody you would not have wished, or somebody you deem inappropriate/unready for such an important role.
Ensure Loved Ones are Provided For
The core benefit of writing a last will and testament is that it represents the most effective measure of ensuring that your loved ones are completely provided for, even after you are gone.
This can include:
- Placing money aside for education
- Setting money aside for loved ones to receive on a yearly basis
- Leaving an amount to help them to purchase their first home
Additionally, in the eyes of the law, no matter how close or large a part of your life they are, without a will stating your precise intentions, step-children cannot be in line for any inheritance were you to pass. Should you wish to ensure that all of your loved ones are provided for, it is vital that you write a will.
For more control over the provisions you leave your children, you may wish to consider setting up a trust. A trust can allow you to clearly dictate who your assets are to go to, as well as why and how they should be distributed.
Safeguard the Family Home
A will can afford you the opportunity to leave your loved ones a share of, or the right to reside in any property that is in your name. This can allow you to guarantee that your family home remains just that; for the family.
If the family home is not in your name, any unmarried partners or step-children would not automatically be in line to inherit without a will, meaning that they could be displaced and lose their home. Instead, it will go to another party who may take it for themselves, or it could even go to the crown.
Avoid Unnecessary Inheritance Tax
When it comes to inheritance tax, the amount that will be charged from your estate depends on how much you have and who you leave it to.
Intelligent estate planning can result in the amount of inheritance tax owed being significantly lowered. For example, assets left to your spouse/civil partner are exempt from all inheritance taxation, and property left for children and grandchildren will often generate lower inheritance tax bills than were you to leave it to any other party.
Stop Future Familial Disputes
The division of assets for a loved one dying without a will, or if their wishes are not completely clear can often lead to disputes. This becomes more common in particularly complicated family dynamics.
Contested wills and friction surrounding your wishes can lead to family ruptures that could last a lifetime. Additionally, the monetary cost associated with disputing a contested will can be incredibly high.
A well-prepared will can help minimise the chance of such disputes taking place after you are gone, and can ensure that your passing is as stress-free as possible for your loved ones. This allows them to grieve without any added pressures.
Protect Digital Assets
With modern innovations in technology and data, the process of dividing your assets is more complicated than ever. If you died without considering your portfolio of digital assets, accounts and online purchases could all be lost once you pass. These can include:
- Social media accounts
- Online channels
- Websites owned
- Downloaded films, games and books
- Online investments, including cryptocurrency
It is important to consider assets like these and include them in your will. Do you wish for things like your email and social media accounts to go inactive upon your passing, or would you prefer for them to be protected or passed onto your partner?
What Happens When Someone Dies Without Making a Will?
If somebody dies without making a will, they are considered to have died intestate. In this situation, their estates are governed by laws of intestacy. The deceased’s closest family members will receive shares of their estate. A key negative of dying without a will is that individuals such as step-children, close friends, and live-in partners would likely not receive anything.
In intestacy, if the deceased estate is worth up to £250,000, their spouse will receive everything. Anything above this figure is to be split between the spouse and the deceased’s children. In a circumstance where there are no children, the spouse will receive everything. Similarly, if there are no children but no spouse (only marriage/civil partnership apply), the children stand to inherit everything.
If the deceased does not have any surviving spouse or children, their estate will go to any surviving parents. Should the parents also be deceased, the estate will be divided in the following order:
If there are no living family members, the sum of the estate will go to the crown as unmarried partners, same-sex couples not married or in a civil partnership, relations by marriage, friends, and carers are currently not considered under the laws of intestacy.
If you want your loved ones, no matter what their relationship to you, to be protected after you have passed, or you want to spare them the potential stresses of dealing with an intestate agent, we recommend that you get in touch to sort your last will and testament as soon as possible.
How Just Wills and Legal Services Can Help
The key justifications and reasons for writing a will are clear. Clearly setting out your intentions and wishes in a last will and testament can ensure that your assets are secure, and those closest to are provided for exactly how you want.
However, the process of estate planning can be complicated — with all manner of considerations and possible stumbling blocks to take into account, it can often be a good idea to consult a specialist to ensure your final wishes are set out clearly and concisely so as to avoid any possible issues down the line.
Just Wills and Legal Services specialist team have been operating in the fields of wills, probate, trusts, estate planning, power of attorney, and more for decades. You can rely on us to provide you with peace of mind and an efficient, effective service throughout.
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