Reasons to make a will
There is no doubt that making a will is the single biggest step you can take towards making sure that what happens to what you leave behind is what you would wish to happen.
Even for those who think they have left their affairs in good order, a will is absolutely essential to help those you leave behind carry out your wishes both effectively and without incurring more legal costs than necessary. ‘If only’ are very sad words.
The process of making a will also has very positive benefits in prompting an assessment of where you are now and where you want to be. None of us can be certain when our end will come, but without a will, you can be absolutely certain of leaving chaos and expense, frustration and needless misery for those close to you.
This section of Lasting Post is all about helping you do this.
1. You decide who benefits from your estate.
2. You make life much easier for your family as your affairs can be sorted out quickly and without confusion or fuss;
3. You may be able to minimise the effects of inheritance tax;
4. You ensure that your spouse is not deprived of your house;
5. If you are not married or in a civil partnership, your partner will not automatically inherit;
6. You can ensure that provision is made for your funeral costs;
7. You appoint the person or persons to act as your executors. These are the people who will deal with your assets after your death.
8. You appoint the guardians who will be responsible for looking after your children;
9. You decide the age at which your children receive money you leave for them;
10. You ensure that your assets are managed in a way that you want; and
11. You can leave legacies to specific organisations and charities.
Problems that arise from dying intestate
If you die without leaving a will then you are said to have died ‘intestate.’ In this situation your estate is subject to a set of statutory rules which effectively mean that all your assets pass to your next of kin in a fixed order.
This may be acceptable but in practice the rules are complicated and can be very restricting. The rules were drawn up in 1925 and do not take account of the changes in the way that people now live their lives. For example, under the intestacy rules if you are not married then your partner will not receive anything.
So, please, do make a will. Even if it seems daunting, Lasting Post sets out the steps you need to take in sensible, achievable stages.
We suggest that everyone wanting to make a will should think about taking professional advice. Your will is an important document and there is considerable potential for problems to arise. The cost of the professional advice may well be a price worth paying for the resulting peace of mind.
The information which we provide through Lasting Post is in outline for information or educational purposes only. The information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a solicitor, accountant or other professional adviser. We cannot guarantee that information provided by Lasting Post will meet your individual needs, as this will very much depend on your individual circumstances. You should therefore use the information only as a starting point for your enquiries.