The Law Commission estimates that 40% of adults die each year without a will. That means there is no guarantee that estates are distributed as the deceased intended.
Furthermore, according to a survey carried out by charity based Will Aid, 38% of those that do have a will, opted to write their own paperwork or use online or high street will writers. This DIY approach can lead to misunderstandings and errors unless the legal requirements for a valid will are met. Otherwise a will can be declared invalid and the estate will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy.
Why we think making a Will is important……
- People often think making a Will is for the older generation. If you have children have you thought about how or who would look after them if something were to happen to you?
- Not married but living with your long term partner. Have you thought about providing for them if you pass away? Without a Will only those assets you own jointly will pass to them. Anything else will pass in accordance with the rules of intestacy. Ultimately, your estate may not end up with who you intended.
- Do you or your partner have children from previous relationships have you ensured that they will properly benefit from your estate?
- Care home fees? Have you thought about what could happen to your estate if you were ever to need to go into a care home? You can protect your estate and your family from the cost of care home fees.
- Disinheritance for those you choose – A will specifically outlines how you would like your estate to be distributed and yes if there is someone you want to leave out you can.
- You get to choose your own Executors who will deal with your affairs upon your death. If you don’t make a Will, then someone you may not trust could end up dealing with this.
- Avoiding estate taxes. By making a Will you can minimise your estate taxes. The value of what you give to a family member or to charity will reduce the value of your estate.
- Do you own your own business? Have you ensured that this will be dealt with properly on your death? Who would you want your share to go to? You may need a shareholder’s agreement so the business can continue in your absence.
- Wills are not just for the wealthy. A Will is equally as important for the not so wealthy to ensure your wishes are met. Even if this means that you ensure that something you feel passionate about happens on your death. This could be as simple as a specific gift of an item of sentimental value or how you wish for your body to be disposed of at your death. Do you have a special pet that you want taking care of upon your death? This can also be included in your Will. Just because you have told and trust a family member to do this does not necessarily mean that this will be done
- Last but not least making a Will makes everything so much simpler for the loved one’s you leave behind. Mainly because it will avoid a lengthy probate process where a court will decide how to divide your estate without your input.
Tomorrow isn’t promised and we are all guilty of thinking it is and are unwilling to accept that death is unfortunately part of life. Don’t leave it too late, avoid adding to the stress of your loved ones at an already difficult time. Drawing up a will is a vital financial planning step and it’s very important that it is done properly. Those that use cheaper alternatives to solicitors can hit problems if the document is not properly written or legally binding. This can leave a family with an inheritance eaten away by legal bills or unnecessary tax.