When There’s a Will, There’s a Way
Thinking of a future without you in it can be uncomfortable. But sadly, all of us need to face up to the facts of life, and death.
In this week’s newsletter, we delve into why having a valid Will is so important.
When it comes to Wills and Estate Planning, do you find yourself saying?
- I don’t have enough to need a Will…
- My kids will just inherit my estate when I’m gone…
- I can’t afford to make a Will
- There’s no hurry, I’ve still got lots of time…
- I don’t want to think about dying…
If so, you could be making your loss even harder on your loved ones.
So why do a will?
The first thing to realise about a Will, is that you are not doing it for yourself. You are doing it for your family, who have the responsibility of dealing with your estate and implementing your decisions when you are gone.
Here are some of the reasons you should do a Will for your family:
To make it clear who you want to be the executor and administrator of your estate.
If you don’t instruct this in your Will, your family have to work it out between themselves. This can lead to arguments, mistrust and fall-outs, even in the tightest knit families, especially when people are grieving and may not be thinking clearly.
To make probate easier
If you have a Will the process of probate is much simpler and easier. Without a Will it takes time and hassle. Why would you want to make it harder for the people you love?
It is helpful to tell your family how you want to be laid to rest, if you don’t they have to argue between themselves. Aunty Irene thinks you should be buried in a certain ceremony but your wife is pretty sure you want to be cremated. Uncle Bob thinks it should be a religious service but your kids think otherwise. It all gets very messy very quickly, again at a time when people are least able to cope.
To allow for property protector or savings protector trust
Don’t disinherit your children accidentally by allowing your monies to be used to fund your surviving spouse’s care fees unnecessarily.
To save them money and heartache
A few hundred pounds spent on a Will now will likely save your family tens of thousands and a whole load of heartache when you die. Not doing a Will doesn’t make it go away – it just makes it ten times worse and puts that pressure on your family when they are least able to cope with it.
To allow your spouse or partner to keep living in your home
If your home makes up a high proportion of the value of your estate, your surviving spouse or life partner might be forced to sell it to fund payments for tax, or your bequests to children and other relatives.
So as not to give your estate to an estranged husband or wife
Your surviving spouse comes top of the list of beneficiaries if you leave no Will. So, if your marriage has broken down but no divorce has been finalised, your surviving spouse (now your ‘ex’) might inherit your estate.
To avoid paying more tax than necessary
Even though anything your spouse or civil partner (but not an unmarried partner) inherits from you is free from inheritance tax, this is of no help long term. When he/she subsequently dies, the inherited funds just make their estate larger.
To prevent your spouse’s future partner from inheriting your money
It can be easy to disinherit the people you care for the most, or who need your estate the most. If you die intestate while married, your estate passes to your spouse. If they remarry and subsequently die intestate, the estate (which would include yours) would pass to their new spouse, who may pass it onto his children rather than yours. Protector trusts can help prevent this.
To appoint guardians for your children
If your children are under 18 then you need to decide who’d care for them in the event of your death and make that nomination within your Will. Without it, social services may invite applications from your wider friends and family which may bring someone forward that you wouldn’t have chosen.
So as not to ignore your unmarried life partner
If you live with someone and you are not married or in a formal civil partnership, your life partner has no automatic right to inherit anything from you if you die intestate.
What more reasons do you need?
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