Writing a Will is often seen as a task that can wait until tomorrow – it’s easy to put off as contemplating death is not something most of us like to think about. However, by making a Will today you will gain control of your estate and choose how loved ones benefit from your estate after you’ve gone.
A Will greatly diminishes the emotional and financial strain on your family and friends at an already distressing time. Without a Will, your estate is distributed according to the rules of intestacy, which doesn’t always take into account your personal situation and can lead to loved ones missing out on an inheritance.
Ten Reasons Why Writing A Will Is So Important
- You Decide What Happens
Your estate is everything you have and own, including property and valuables as well as liabilities and debt. If you don’t have a Will, you have no say over what happens to your estate as it is distributed according to the rules of intestacy, which can mean loved ones miss out. For example, unmarried couples and step children aren’t acknowledged under inheritance law in England and Wales and won’t automatically benefit from an estate.
- You Protect Your Young Children
You can appoint a Guardian in your Will to care for your child or children should you die when they’re still young – you decide who raises your children this way and make sure it isn’t anybody you wouldn’t want to look after them. Otherwise, the courts and social services make the decision over who looks after your children.
- You Protect Your Children
If you have Children they won’t automatically benefit from your estate unless it is worth at least £250,000.
- You Protect Your Loved Ones
Those you love and want to inherit from your estate are not necessarily your relatives. Without any known blood relatives, your estate will pass to the Crown so it’s important to stipulate just who you want your beneficiaries to be in your Will.
- You Protect Yourself If Separated
If you’re divorced, your ex-spouse won’t automatically inherit from your estate if you die without making a Will. However, if you’re informally separated and without a Will, your ex-partner may be in line to inherit.
- You Protect Yourself If Cohabiting
Individuals cohabiting are not currently protected in law in the same way married couples and those in civil partnerships are. If you live with your partner and die without a Will, your partner will only be entitled to the items you own jointly and cannot inherit under the UK intestacy laws, although he or she is entitled to apply to the court for financial provision from the estate if relevant.
- Your Protect Your Family If You Die When Your Spouse Does
In the unfortunate event both you and your spouse pass away at the same time, such as in a road accident, the law states who ever’s oldest is said to have died first – something that can have consequences for those left behind. If you’re said to have died first, your estate may pass to your spouse and his or her family could then benefit instead of your family.
- You Protect Your Family From Further Upset
Coping with the loss of a loved one is a traumatic and stressful time, and the absence of a Will makes matters much worse for family members as the distribution of your estate could lead to disagreements and upset.
- You Protect Your Family From Paying Too Much Inheritance Tax
As an individual now has the benefit of an additional inheritance tax allowance, you could benefit from an inheritance tax threshold of up to £425,000. This amount can be transferred between spouses and you can gift a UK registered charity without inheritance tax being liable – so there are plenty of steps you can take to keep the inheritance tax bill on your estate to a minimum. You can state in your Will that your property is to pass to your children, for example, or you can gift loved ones at least seven years before you die, which means there is no inheritance tax to pay on it.
- You Provide Peace Of Mind For All
Making a Will enables you to state clearly how you want your possessions to be divided when you die, including deciding who inherits certain pieces of jewellery and sentimental items. You should review your Will fairly regularly to ensure it reflects your current situation and that you continue to protect your family and loved ones, today and long after you’ve passed away.
Our Wills and Probate solicitors can help you write your Will, one that best reflects your personal circumstances and wishes. For legal advice and guidance regarding your Will, please contact Bartletts Solicitors Hoole office on 01244 311 633 or from a mobile 0333 200 4465 or email firstname.lastname@example.org