Why Should You Make a Will?Published on: 03 October 2019
Making a Will is one of the most important steps you can take for both you and your family; it can help protect your loved ones when you are gone and ensure your affairs are dealt with in the way that you want.
Although not everyone’s circumstances are the same, here we explain some of the main reasons why you should make a Will.
1. To Ensure That Your Wishes and Intentions Are Carried Out
Your Will is a legal document that sets out how you want your property and other assets to be distributed after your death. Making a Will is the best way to ensure that your estate is administered in accordance with your wishes and intentions.
If you die without a Will, this is called dying ‘intestate’. In these circumstances, your estate is distributed in accordance with a strict set of rules known as the Rules of Intestacy. This means your estate will not be distributed in accordance with your express wishes, and your loved ones may not be entitled to anything. Unmarried partners, friends, stepchildren, other dependants or charities will not benefit from your estate unless you name them in your Will.
2. To Decide Who Should Be Responsible for Dealing with Your Affairs
Within your Will, you can name an executor (or multiple executors) who will be responsible for dealing with your estate and carrying out your wishes. This is an important job with much responsibility. Choosing your executors in advance allows you to choose the most suitable people whom you trust to carry out this task.
3. To Ensure Your Children Are Looked After
If you have young children, you can use your Will to appoint legal guardians to look after them if you pass away whilst they are under 18. If you don't appoint legal guardians and you pass away while your children are under 18, then the decision as to who looks after them could be left to the family courts, who may not appoint the same person/people you would have chosen.
4. To Make Matters Easier for Your Loved Ones
By making a Will you are setting out how you wish for your estate to be distributed. If you die without making a Will, then the process of administering the estate can become more time consuming and stressful. A Will can therefore make matters much easier, less expensive and less stressful for your loved ones, when it comes to dealing with your affairs when you are gone.
5. To Deal with Your Affairs in the Most Tax-Efficient Way
Making a Will with the help of a specialist Private Client solicitor can help reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax that might be payable on the value of your assets (such as property and money) which you leave to your loved ones.
6. To Ensure That Your Partner or Cohabitee is Provided For
As mentioned above, if you die without a will then under the Rules of Intestacy, unmarried partners aren't automatically entitled to inherit anything from your estate, no matter how long you have been together. By making a Will, you can ensure that your partner will receive their fair share of your estate in accordance with your wishes.
7. To Provide for Your Stepchildren and other Dependants
Under the Rules of Intestacy, only spouses or blood relatives will automatically inherit if you die without a Will. If you have stepchildren (or foster children and any other dependants) and you want them to inherit after you die, you will need to provide for them in your Will.
8. If You Own a Property with Another Individual
If you jointly own a property with another person then it becomes very important to make a Will. This is especially significant if you own a property as ‘tenants in common’ (which means that your share of the property does not automatically pass to the other co-owner when you die). If you die without a Will and the Rules of Intestacy apply, then your closest blood relatives will inherit your share of the property, as opposed to your intended beneficiaries or the other co-owner. If your intention is for the other co-owner to inherit your share of the property, then you should make a Will (or change the nature of your ownership to become ‘joint tenants’).
9. To Give You Reassurance and Peace of Mind
When your Will is signed and dated, you will feel reassured knowing that your affairs are in order, everything has been arranged and your wishes will be carried out in a way that causes the least stress and difficulty for your loved ones. Aside from the legal reasons stated above, knowing that your wishes and intentions are clearly set out in a legal document will give you peace of mind.
Why Should You Instruct Lanyon Bowdler to Make a Will?
A Will is a legal document and as such, there is a strict set of legal rules which apply. If your Will is not correctly drafted, signed and witnessed in accordance with these rules, it could be deemed invalid and it will be as if you had not made a Will at all.
The rules for writing and witnessing a Will are very specific and it is therefore best to instruct an experienced Private Client solicitor to assist you and make sure it is done correctly. At Lanyon Bowdler our Will writing solicitors are experts in their field and will guide you through the whole process from start to finish.