Even if you don’t have a huge amount to leave behind, making a will is the best way to start to protect your loved ones and your children and minimise any additional stress for them if you pass away.
Three in five adults in the UK had not written a will, according to research published by Canada Life in September 2020. Some 22% of those were over the age of 75, and 39% were aged between 65 and 74.
Yet making a will is an important step in ensuring that your final wishes are carried out and that your loved ones are taken care of after you’re gone.
If you die without a will, you are said to have died “intestate.” This means that the court will determine how your assets are distributed. Making a will gives you the power to decide who gets what. Here’s some crucial reasons why you should make a will…
1 You can choose who deals with your estate
If you die without a will, the court will appoint an executor (a named person who sorts out your estate). This person may not be someone you would have chosen. It is often your next of kin, but they may not be the best person to cope with this responsibility during a stressful and upsetting time.
2 You can appoint a guardian to look after your children
This is considered one of the most important reasons for making a will. Guardians will have parental responsibility for your children when you die, which means they can make decisions about your child’s education, medical treatment and where they can live. If you don’t make a will and therefore don’t have a guardian appointed, the courts would appoint someone instead, which means someone you haven’t chosen and may not have wanted will bring up your children. Even if you think you have very little to leave in a will, if you have children, it’s essential to make a will to ensure you choose their guardian.
3 You can choose who gets your assets
It’s a common misconception that your assets will automatically go to your spouse or civil partner when you die, but if you don’t make a will, your assets will be distributed under the rules of intestacy. This means the law decides who inherits your estate. This may not be how you would have wanted them to be distributed.
4 You can provide for family members with special needs
If you have a family member with special needs, you can include provisions in your will to make sure that person is taken care of financially.
5 If you’re not married, your partner won’t be your natural beneficiary
Without a will, unmarried couples will not be each other’s beneficiaries, even if they have lived together for many years and might have children together.
6 You can minimise conflict among your surviving relatives
If you die without a will, your survivors may fight over your assets. Having a will allows you to spell out exactly who gets what and avoid any potential conflicts.
7 Inheritance tax may be larger
Your loved ones may pay more inheritance tax than necessary. This could have been avoided or reduced with careful planning.
8 You can avoid delays
If you haven’t made a will, there may be delays in winding up your estate, which can cause additional upset and stress to your loved ones at a time when they are already grieving.
In short, making a will is an important step in ensuring that your final wishes are carried out and that your loved ones are taken care of after you’re gone and is the best way to ensure your children are protected.
Through our trusted partners, MB Associates can help with your estate planning needs. Contact us today.