First things first… what is a Will?
“A Will tells everyone what should happen to your money, possessions and property after you die (all these things together are called your ‘estate’). If you don’t leave a Will, the law decides how your estate is passed on – and this may not be in line with your wishes.”
The simple answer to the question is that it makes things much easier for your family and friends. But obviously there are aspects that you may not be aware of that explain why this really is the case.
Nine reasons you need a Will…
- If you die intestate (i.e. without having made a Will) then the process for dealing with your estate is time consuming. Matters can be complicated to deal with, which can make things more costly than necessary if your family need legal advice and help to sort things out. But putting aside both the financial impact and time consuming nature of what has to be done, you are potentially adding to the burden of sorting your affairs out at a time that is already stressful and upsetting. If you have a Will in place, you are helping your family to keep going.
- Without a Will, it is the law who defines who gets what… not you. If you don’t write a Will, everything you own will be shared out in a standard way defined by the law – which isn’t always quite how you want things to be. Your spouse, children and other dependents may not get as large a share of it as they need to live because other relatives may be able to put in a claim for a share too. Having a Will reduces this risk significantly. And remember, this can include charities etc., as well as family and friends.
- If you have a partner but are not married or in a civil partnership, your partner is not legally entitled to anything when you die. If you make a Will, however, they can be included.
- If you are separated but not divorced when you die without a Will, then your estranged spouse will still inherit from you.
- A Will can help reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax that may be payable on both the value of your property and money you leave behind. It’s likely that you’ll need to take advice on this because there are certain criteria that need to be met to achieve this.
- Having a Will does potentially help to avoid disputes. Much as you don’t want to think of family and friends bickering over your assets once you’re gone, sadly it does happen. Family rifts are the last thing you want to cause in the event of your death and having a Will helps to reduce the risk of this.
- If you die without having made a Will and you have no relatives, your estate will go to the Crown or the Government. This law is called bona vacantia.
- Having a Will can help to protect your assets for future generations. You can’t dictate forever what happens to things that have been in your family for generations, but setting out your wishes in a Will can help to achieve this.
- It’s an opportunity to express your wishes for your funeral. For example, you can state whether you’d prefer to be cremated or buried, and what type of service you’d like. Details such as whether you’d like people to donate money to a cause rather than send flowers can even be included.
For advice on your Will & Estate planning needs please contact us for a no obligation chat.