Every year thousands of people die intestate (without leaving behind a valid will). Many people think that they don’t need one, that they don’t have anything worth leaving behind or that they have plenty of time to make a will. However, dying intestate can cause many problems including delays, further expense and uncertainty for loved ones.
If you are currently undecided about making a will, read on for our top 10 reasons to make a will:
1. Choosing how your estate will be distributed
This is the most obvious reason to make a will, and why most of our clients come to see us. If you don’t have a will then your estate will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy. This may not be how you want your property to be distributed.
2. Providing for your partner if you are not married
Unfortunately the law does not recognise any “common law” marriage. This means that if you are not married and if you die without leaving a will, your partner will not receive anything. Making a will therefore gives you the ability to provide for your partner, whether you are married or not.
3. Who will administer your estate?
If you make a will you can decide who will administer your estate. Your executors are the ones who will gather in and distribute your assets. Therefore, ideally you would pick trusted relatives or friends.
4. Guardians for children
You can appoint guardians for your children should you die before they reach 18. This can provide you with peace of mind knowing that should anything happen to you, your children will be cared for.
5. Speeding up the process
For low value estates, it may not always be necessary to obtain a grant of probate. This means therefore that your executors may be able to simply provide companies and/or banks with the will, death certificate (or certified copies), and your ID to collect in the assets.
6. Minimise potential disputes
You can help to reduce any family disputes, e.g. over your beloved jukebox or jewellery collection. If you have a will leaving specific bequests to specific beneficiaries, your family will not have to argue about what you would have wanted to happen to individual items.
7. Tax planning
You can put measures in place to assist with tax planning. Your solicitor will be able to advise you on this when you make your will.
8. Business and investments
You can set out in your will what should happen for any any business or investments. This can help the transition for your business partners and/or employees.
9. Making financial arrangements for any children
You can set up trusts for children including any stipulation that they are not to receive their inheritance until they are 25, for example, if you have any worries about leaving large sums of money to young beneficiaries.
You can leave gifts to charity in your will. Depending upon the value of any gifts to charities, your estate could benefit from receiving a 4% tax break for inheritance tax.
If you want to discuss making a will and how it can benefit you, please call our specialist wills and probate solicitors on 0800 988 7756.