No one likes to think about dying, but it’s a sad fact of life that one day our time will come. End of life planning is a really important topic that many people would rather avoid, but if you want your money, property and possessions to go to the person of your choice, then it’s a topic you need to talk about and put into writing. In order to pass your estate on to those of your choosing, it is really important you make a will.
In this blog post I will share the many benefits and importance of writing a will.
What is a will?
A will is a legal document that expresses a person’s wishes of who will inherit their estate once they have died and who will care for any children. It also outlines who will manage the estate until it is distributed.
Whilst you can create a will yourself, it’s advisable to have a solicitor check your will to ensure it is legally valid. If it has any mistakes then these can cause problems when you die and your exact wishes may not be followed. For professional advice you might like to contact a Private Client legal specialist such as Axiom Stone Solicitors who specialise in wills and estate matters.
Speaking to a specialist solicitor will ensure you have thought about every eventuality in the event of your death. They will be able to explain clearly what will happen when you die and ensure you have included everything you need in your will.
Why is a will important?
A will is a really important legal document to have in place to ensure your wishes are met when you are no longer around. If you don’t write a will then the law will decide how your estate is passed on and this might not be as you desired.
Who needs a will?
If you have a house, have children, are married or have a positive net worth, then you should definitely write a will, just like you should have life insurance.
If you are single, don’t own a house, don’t have kids or any net worth, then you might not need a will.
We wrote our will as soon as we had two children and bought our first family home. It was really important for us to decide who would get our children should we both die and also how our money would be shared out in all eventualities.
For example, it might seem obvious that I would get my husband’s half if he dies and vice versa, but what if we all die in a car crash? Then who gets our estate?
These are horrible scenarios to think of, but they are important to consider and a will ensures our home, savings and possessions are passed onto the people we choose.
What are the benefits of a will?
- Your family will know exactly what your wishes are when you die. It’s already a traumatic time to lose someone you love and it will be one less thing for them to worry about.
- You get to choose how your estate is distributed. If you don’t write a will then the rules of intestacy apply. These rules set out how your estate will be distributed between your spouse and family and it may not be exactly how you wish.
- Unmarried partners and those who have not registered a civil partnership are unable to inherit from one another unless there is a will.
- If both parents of minor children die then a will outlines who is to take parental responsibility of the children, otherwise the courts will decide who gets custody of the children. Making a will is the only legally binding way to decide who will look after your children.
- A legal will can help prevent any conflict and fallouts between family members when you die as they will know your exact wishes.
- If you have other family members or friends who depend on you financially and you wish to continue this when you die, then you will need a will in place to ensure you leave something to them. Otherwise the rules of intestacy will apply and they could be left with nothing.
- You may also use your will to instruct whether you wish to have a burial or cremation.
Writing a will is really important, especially once you have children of your own and assets like property. If you don’t have a will yet then consider the above points and make an appointment with a solicitor to get yours in writing as soon as possible.
If you are unsure what needs to be covered then my post about 'Everything you need to include in your will' should help.