Why do you need a Will?
There are many good reasons to make a Will, not least the peace of mind gained from knowing that your possessions will be distributed as you wish. After all, it's your money, they're your assets, the things that you have worked for during your life – you should be the one to take control and determine what happens after you have died.
Making a Will allows you to:
- Appoint people to look after your affairs after you have died and ensure your wishes are followed ("Executors")
- Nominate people to look after money until children reach an age old enough to receive their inheritance ("Trustees")
- Select people to raise young children ("Guardians")
- Provide a new home for your pets
- Determine who receives what from your assets
- Make specific gifts to individuals
- Make gifts to charities
- Safeguard the continuity of any family business
- Avoid potential family disputes
- Create trusts to provide for young children
- Avoid your estate unnecessarily going to the Treasury
- Plan to minimise the impact of Inheritance Tax
- Notify family members of your funeral wishes
What happens if you don't make a Will?
Disputes over inheritance can drive families apart and may need a solicitor to resolve them. Leaving a Will removes any doubt about to whom you want to leave your money and property. If you die without making a Will, there are strict rules setting out who is entitled to what – called the "Intestacy Rules". These rules do not always pass your assets to whom you might expect. For example, if you do not make a Will, your surviving husband or wife does not automatically inherit everything.
Keep your Will up to date
Equally as important as making a Will, is ensuring that you keep it up to date. You should review your Will every five years, or upon any major 'life-changing' event – for example having children, getting married or receiving an inheritance or when you retire . Whilst you may not need to change your Will every time, making sure that you do review it, and ensuring that it still matches your circumstances, is a vital part of your overall management of your personal affairs. Remember, an out of date Will is almost as bad as no Will at all!
Writing a Will that accurately reflects your wishes is not easy. It requires an extensive knowledge of an ever-changing taxation system, and of the laws that apply to estates.
Do-it-yourself may work for putting up shelves, but get your Will wrong and you could end up leaving your loved ones with much worry, bitterness and legal expense.
Get it done properly in the first place! It will probably cost less than you think.
See our fixed fee scale of charges.