A shocking 54% of all adults residing in the UK don’t have a Will – while 5.4 million don’t know how to make one. Dying without a Will can cause significant problems for those you leave behind. Here’s just 10 reasons why you should make a Will.
1. First and foremost, making a Will puts you in control of it. You choose who will benefit from your estate and what they are entitled to. You also get to decide who will administer the entirety of your affairs after your death.
2. If you don’t make a Will, the intestacy rules will decide who benefits from your estate and that can produce undesirable results. The law also sets a hierarchy of who is able to handle your financial affairs after death, and that can lead to problems if the person is not suitable because of age, health, geographical location, etc. If you own property or assets overseas, it’s important to seek legal advice, ideally from someone with expertise in the local jurisdiction.
3. When you make a Will through a suitably qualified solicitor, the chance of a problem or dispute arising after your death is reduced. Disputes arise more often when someone dies without a Will, as certain people are entitled to apply to court to challenge the provision made by the intestacy rules, if they deem it to be unfair.
4. Whilst a Will can also sometimes be challenged on the basis that it is unfair, the courts are generally more reluctant to interfere in the provision made by a Will than that provided for by the intestacy rules.
5. It is often quicker, cheaper, and less stressful to administer an estate where there is a Will. If you die without a Will, it may be necessary for your estate to commission genealogical research to identify any lost or unknown relatives. That can be very expensive and time consuming.
6. A Will also enables you to preserve assets for beneficiaries. For example, if you have property and/or business interests, you may want those to go to certain people, whilst leaving further assets to others.
7. A Will can be used to ensure you make provision for those that need it, whilst protecting assets for other beneficiaries. For example, married couples can easily set their Wills up to protect a share of their home from being used to pay for care fees. This will give them the comfort of knowing the property is available for the survivor to live in for as long as it’s required.
8. A properly drafted trust in your Will could enable someone to manage the inheritance you leave to a disabled or vulnerable person and may ensure the intended beneficiary does not lose his/her means tested benefit
9. If you die without a Will and a share of your estate is left to a vulnerable or disabled beneficiary, the person handling your estate may need to insist on someone applying to be their court-appointed deputy before paying out their share, a process that is both expensive and time consuming. This is because people who lack capacity are unable to give a valid receipt for their share of an estate.
10. You can also nominate someone you trust to act as a guardian for your children (if you die while your children are minors) and you can also record your funeral wishes in your Will. These are things that people do not usually discuss within the family unit. By formally expressing your views in a Will however, it can provide helpful and practical guidance for those you leave behind.
So, What Are You Waiting For?
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