Why should you have a Will?
A question we get asked a lot is; Why should you have a will?
Some people may think they are too young to bother with a will, after all, they haven’t got much to leave. Other people have a will but their circumstances have changed, they may have married a long-term partner and assumed that their existing will will still cover them both, (it won’t, all previous wills become invalid after a marriage unless a specific clause has been added). A lot of people make the assumption that they have plenty of time to get it sorted, it something that just keeps getting put off. After all, how important is it really? My estate will go to my partner or spouse anyway won’t it? Or split between the kids?
This isn’t always the case, if you die without a will, the intestacy rules set out who will inherit when you die. This means that your partner, relatives, friends and favourite charities may get nothing.
It is particularly important to make a Will if you are not married or you are in a civil partnership as the intestacy rules do not make provision for partners. As such, your partner will likely be left with nothing if you die without a Will in place. In today’s world of more frequently blended families, a Will is more important than ever. Despite this, a recent survey by Canada Life revealed that half of the adults over 55 in the UK do not have a Will, even if they owned property or had children!
Here are some key reasons why you should have a Will:
Distribution of assets: A will allows you to specify how you want your assets, including property, money, and possessions, to be distributed after your death. Without a will, the law of intestacy determines who inherits your assets, which may not align with your wishes.
Providing for loved ones: A Will enables you to provide for your loved ones, such as your spouse, children, or other dependents, by naming them as beneficiaries and specifying the assets they should receive. It ensures that your assets are distributed according to your intentions, which can be crucial for the financial well-being of your family. This is particularly important if you have remarried and you both have children from previous relationships.
Appointing guardians for minors: If you have children who are minors, a Will allows you to nominate guardians who will take care of them in the event of your death. This ensures that your children are looked after by someone you trust and avoids potential disputes or uncertainties about their future.
Expressing specific wishes: A Will provides an opportunity to express your specific wishes regarding your funeral arrangements, charitable donations, and any other special instructions you may have. These details can help alleviate the burden on your loved ones and ensure that your wishes are respected.
Minimizing family disputes: Having a clear and legally valid Will can help minimize potential conflicts and disagreements among family members after your death. By clearly stating your intentions, you reduce the chances of misunderstandings or disputes regarding the distribution of your assets.
Tax planning: A Will can also include provisions for tax planning purposes, aiming to minimize inheritance tax liability on your estate. Estate planning can help maximize the value of your assets for your beneficiaries and potentially reduce the tax burden they may face.
Issues if you do not have a Will
If you do not have a Will in place then the rules of intestacy dictate who will inherit your estate when you die. It is a common misconception that when someone dies, their spouse or civil partner will receive their entire estate but this is not true. They will only receive part of your estate and the rest will go to certain relatives. Further, if you don’t have any living relatives, your estate will pass to the Crown. If you do not have a Will in place the administration process when you die can be costly and time consuming.
How Levins can help
It doesn’t have to be a complicated or expensive process to have a will put in place. We can provide you with the advice that you need and will help you through the process to ensure that your wishes are correctly documented. You do not have to use a solicitor, but we recommend that you do. It is advisable that you use a solicitor to ensure that your Will has been correctly drafted. It is easy to make mistakes when preparing a Will yourself and this can cause problems following your death. Dealing with misunderstandings and disputes after your death can result in considerable legal costs and delays. This ultimately, can reduce the amount of money in your estate.
At Levins we care about building lasting relationships with our clients and understand that being professional, open, honest and approachable is key to this and it underpins all of our work.
We know that listening carefully and respecting your wishes is key to providing you with an excellent service. We will always offer advice about how best to structure your will to ensure that your needs are accurately met and we are happy to help support you through the whole process.
There ware many good reasons to answer the question ‘Why should I have a Will?’ Making a will shouldn’t be a daunting or confusing process and our aim is to make it as simple and stress-free as possible.
If you would like help drafting a will or revising an existing one, the please do get in touch, we would be happy to help. You can read more about our Private Client services here, including Wills, Probate, Powers of Attorney, Court of Protection and Trusts.