Old or young, making a Will is a wise decision
Wills allow a person’s final wishes to be expressed clearly, such as how their estate - money, property and possessions - is shared out. Surprisingly more than half of Britons don’t have a Will.
People often put off making a Will until they’re in their 50s, but the reality is anyone aged over 18 can have one. Here are 10 reasons why should consider a writing a Will now, whatever your age.
1. No one knows what the future holds
Death is not something people like to think about, but no one can predict what will happen and when. That’s why making a Will is not just for the elderly or ill. It makes good sense to have one in place for the future – just in case the worst happens.
2. Without a Will, your estate may not go to the people you would have chosen
Many people assume that when they die, their estate automatically goes to their immediate family, but this isn’t always the case. If there’s no Will, their assets are distributed according to the law of intestacy and may not go to the people they would’ve chosen.
3. You decide what happens to your estate
With a Will you choose what happens to your estate and how it is distributed, instead of leaving it up to the law. When making a Will, think carefully about who you’d want to pass things on to.
4. You can leave specific things to loved ones
Are there heirlooms you’d like to pass on to your children? A Will lets you leave specific gifts (known as bequests) to individuals. These might include cash or cherished items such as jewellery.
5. You can leave something for people other than family
Aside from your family, you can also pass on something to friends. Many people also choose to leave gifts in their Will to charities.
6. You’ll prevent your money going to the wrong people
If you die without a Will and have no spouse or kids, your parents or siblings may inherit your estate, even if you'd prefer it to go to other people. Or, if when you die you are separated but not yet divorced, your ex could inherit some or all of your estate, even if that is not what you intended.
7. You can decide who will take care of your children
No parent wants to leave their children’s future to chance, but that’s what happens when someone dies without a Will. In this case, the court will appoint a guardian to care for children under 18 years old. By writing a Will, you can choose who you want to take care of your children. Many parents opt for making a joint Will to document their wishes.
8. You want to protect your unmarried partner
In the UK, unmarried partners (sometimes called "common law spouses") are not automatically entitled to inherit any of their partner’s estate, which means they could end up with nothing. Including an unmarried partner in a Will can ensure that they receive their fair share.
9. You’ll avoid family disputes
Without a Will to clear things up, there may be arguments over inheritance that can even end up with family contesting a Will through the courts. This can damage family relationships as well as causing delay. Making a Will now prevents a huge headache for your family when you’re not around.
10. You can choose who you want to sort out your Will
The person who manages your affairs after you die is called an executor, and should be someone you trust. If there isn’t a Will, your closest relatives have to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration, an official document issued by the court that allows your relatives to administer your estate.