5 Reasons You Should Make A Will
Putting off writing a will is common. It can be seen as a complicated process, a waste of time, or something that can be pushed back for a later date. In reality, writing a will can be quite easy and it's essential in ensuring your wishes are met.
5 key reasons why you should write a will
1. To protect unofficial relationships
If you die without a will, your estate will fall under the rules of intestacy. This sets out who will inherit your estate. This starts out with your spouse, then your children and even covers uncles and aunts if there are no other family members above them in the pecking order.
The problem here is that it’s very structured and your family dynamic may be very different. The biggest example of this being a problem is when you have a wife you’re separated from and have a new partner. The rules of intestacy state that your estranged wife would be entitled to your estate and your partner would get nothing.
Being able to put your wishes in a will means that the rules of intestacy never need to come into place. Your wishes will be carried out exactly. This will protect any relationships that aren’t recognized in that law such as a friend, step-child or partner.
2. A will makes it easy for your family
If you die without a will then someone will have to sort out your estate. Your closest relative would have to apply for letters of administration. They would then need to value the estate, pay any debts and then distribute the assets according to the law.
This is usually a longer and more complex process than it would be if a will was in place. This can also lead to extra costs if they are using a solicitor. Trying to deal with all of this while also coping with grief can be very difficult. Not only do they have the legal stress but they also have to deal with complying with the rules of intestacy. Having a will in place will make it a lot easier for your family when you pass away.
3. To name a child’s guardian
If you die with young children and they don’t have their other parent, someone else will have to become their legal guardians. If you don’t have a will then this may end up being decided in the family courts and they may end up with someone you wouldn’t have approved of.
In your will, you can put down who you want to look after your children. If you’re doing this, it’s best to consult with the potential guardians beforehand to ensure that they are willing to take on the task. You may have asked them to be godparents but that isn’t legally binding.
If you have children then a will is very important and this is another key reason why.
4. Controlling the inheritance tax
At a basic level, inheritance tax is payable at 40% on anything over the £325,000 threshold. The rules of inheritance tax, however, can be more nuanced than those with exemptions and discounts. An example of this is that if you give 10% or more to charity in your will, the tax due drops to 36%.
Writing a will allows you to control your estate and the funds within it. Anything left to a spouse, for example, would be exempt from tax. When you make a will, you can look at the rules of inheritance tax and work out how to best approach them.
5. To financially provide for your children
Writing a will allows you to better control your children’s financial future after you are gone. You can be fairly specific in terms of how and when they receive money. This is commonly set aside for the likes of education or even to buy a future home.
Setting up a trust can also be a common feature of a will. This allows for more structure to be put into place rather than leaving it to someone else or giving it to them in a lump sum.
A trust is something that you can set up while you’re alive but you can also leave instructions to do it in your will. Setting up your estate in this way can allow you to look after your children long after you’re gone.
Other reasons to make a will
As well as these 5 key reasons, here we take a quick look at some other reasons why getting a will may be important.
Choosing an executor – Someone needs to carry out your wishes. You may want to select the person who is most suitable for the role.
Support a charity – Many people give to charity in their will. This can be a monetary amount or even an asset.
Prevent disputes – Making a will vastly reduce the chances of family disputes. If your wishes are clearly written down in black and white then it’s very unlikely they’ll be contested.
Control of assets – Some assets may have sentimentality and you want them to go to the right person. Pets are also another key consideration, and they are seen as assets in the eyes of the law.
It may be too late – Not only can death come at any time but you may have an accident or condition that prevents you from writing a will. It’s best to get it done as soon as you can.
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