10 Reasons to Write a Will: Secure Your Family's Future
According to a recent report by IRN Research into Wills and Probate, only 4 in 10 UK adults have written a Will. For many of us, writing a Will may not be our top priority. There could be many reasons for this: we may think Wills are only for property owners, or that we have lots of time to deal with end of life arrangements, including writing a last Will and Testament. You may even feel like you are too young to write a Will right now, or that it’s something you should only worry about when you’re older, own property, or have children.
However, writing a Will and getting your affairs in order well in advance could end up saving you and your family a lot of time and worry later on. A Will is not just a document that divides up property and money. A Will protects your family, children, spouse - and even pets - in the event of your death. Instead of worrying about what will happen to your dependents when you die, you can take control and get started by writing your Will.
If you’re wondering what age you should write a Will, our answer is: the sooner the better. It is recommended that you write a Will once you become a legal adult at 18.
We understand that getting started with writing your Will can be difficult, especially if you don’t know where to start. We recommend asking your solicitor for advice as they’ll be able to guide you step-by-step.
We will be looking at these key points about the importance of writing a Will:
- A Will gives you complete control over how your property and assets will be divided
- A Will allows you to make provisions for the care of your children, partner, parents, and even pets or other dependents
- A Will can safeguard your property and minimise Inheritance Tax costs in the future
- You should review and update your Will after every major life event such as divorce, marriage, birth of children, or deaths in the family
- Create a Will as early as possible - you’re never too young to write a Will
1. A Will ensures your wishes are followed
A Will is a legal document that sets out how you would like your property and assets to be distributed, as well as the maintenance and care of your dependents in the event of your death. Since a Will is a legally binding document, you can rest assured that your wishes will be executed according to your instructions.
Writing your wishes for the division of your property and assets in a detailed, legal document may also help prevent family disputes or arguments. Nobody wants their loved ones to go through a stressful time after their death, and a Will could help prevent that from happening.
2. A Will protects your children or stepchildren
If you have minor children, you can appoint a legal guardian who will be the person that will care for your children in the event of your demise. If you do not specify a legal guardian for your children in your Will, the Family Courts will decide who to appoint as your children’s guardian when you die. To avoid this from happening, it is highly recommended that you specify your children’s guardianship in your will. You should update your existing Wills immediately after the births of your children to ensure they are protected.
In the case of stepchildren, you must include them in your Will if you want to leave them something when you die. This is because stepchildren are not automatically entitled to inheriting anything if you die.
3. Your childrens’ inheritance, education and livelihoods will be protected
Every parent wants their children to have the best opportunities available to them, and this includes their education and standard of living. Ensuring that your children’s inheritance and education finances are in order in the event of your death will give you peace of mind. You can set up a Trust for this purpose.
4. A Will protects your partner if you are not married
If you do not have a Will when you die, your unmarried partner has no right to inherit any of your property or assets. This means that they will be totally unprotected in the event of your death, if you do not have a Will.
Including your unmarried partner in your Will, as well as stipulating their share in your property and assets, as well as their right to remain in your family home, is a must if you want them to be taken care of when you die.
5. A Will protects your new spouse
In England and Wales, getting married makes any existing Will invalid. This means that you will need to create a new Will to include your new spouse and update your current marital status.
If you are divorced, yet do not create a new Will after the divorce, your ex-spouse can still inherit from your estate when you die. This is why it is highly recommended to review and update your Will to ensure it reflects your current marital status.
6. Minimise your estate’s inheritance tax liability According to Redwood Financial Estate Planning, effective Inheritance Tax Planning is incredibly important if you wish to leave property or assets to your children or grandchildren incurring the lowest inheritance tax possible. Do seek advice from your solicitor about how to implement the right Trusts and clauses in your Will.
7. Protect your pets
For many of us, our pets are members of the family. You can include the care of your pets in your Will and set aside money for their care and maintenance costs, such as vet costs, after you die. You can also choose who you would like to take care of them.
8. A Will protects your legacy and life’s work
Many of us work hard to be able to build wealth and provide for our families and loved ones. Having a Will in place before you die is the single most important action you can take to protect your family and ensure that your hard-earned wealth goes where you want after you die. If you’ve spent a significant amount of time collecting art, jewellery, or other collectibles you can also make provisions for how you would like these to be distributed or managed when you die.
With the recent popularity of digital assets, it is also important to stipulate how you want your digital assets to be distributed or managed when you die.
9. You can choose someone you trust to execute your Will
You can also choose someone you trust to be the Executor of your Will. This person will be in charge of ensuring your wishes are carried out properly.
10. You can support your favourite charity
Do you have a cause that is close to your heart? Whether it is Cancer Research, a homeless shelter, or an animal charity, you can include a charitable donation in your Will to ensure that your estate can continue supporting it even after you die. This is a wonderful way to keep your legacy going, and help those in need.
As you can see, having a Will gives you a high level of control over how your property, assets, and care and protection of your loved ones are managed after you die. Knowing that you can leave behind detailed instructions for how you would like your property and legacy to be managed when you die can be an empowering feeling, and even give you a sense of freedom and peace of mind.
It is highly recommended that you review and update your will every 2-3 years, or at every major life event such as marriage, divorce/separation, the births of any children, or deaths of family members. Due to one or several of the reasons listed above, it is incredibly important that your will is up-to-date to accommodate for any changes in your life.
Death is unpredictable and none of us knows what tomorrow will bring. However, we can ensure that our loved ones and legacy are taken care of with a comprehensive and current Will.
You can add your Will, and other end of life documents and wishes to the Legacy of Lives vault. Along with a Will, we also recommend that you plan your funeral and other end of life plans in advance using the Legacy of Lives free funeral planning tool.