What is a will?
A will supplies instructions for when you die and is a binding legal document. It says where your assets should go and also covers practical matters.
It’s often assumed that if you die without a will (intestacy), things will be evenly shared out among your loved ones, but this may not always be the case. Your assets get distributed by intestacy laws: your partner gets everything if you are married without children, while if you do have children your partner gets the first £250,000 as well as possessions and half the remainder; the children get the rest.
If you are unmarried with children, the entire amount is distributed equally among your children. If you do not have any children your belongings go to your closest living relative in the following order: parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles. If you don’t have any living relatives the entire amount goes to the Crown.
Here are six reasons to make a will.
1 To clarify who you choose to be your estate’s executor
If you don’t state this in your will, your family must decide amongst themselves, potentially leading to arguments and mistrust.
2 For easier probate
With a will, probate – the legal procedure of taking care of the estate of the deceased – is much simpler and quicker.
You may use software for financial advisers to arrange your affairs. If you need it, software for financial advisers can be found at Intelliflo.
Which? offers some advice here: https://www.which.co.uk/money/wills-and-probate/passing-on-your-money/reasons-for-making-a-will-a4mzh4b503jc.
3 Funeral instructions
Tell your family how to lay your remains to rest, otherwise arguments over burial versus cremation may arise.
4 Employ Property Protector or Savings Protector
These will stop the inheritance that you leave being used to bankroll the care fees of another party. Don’t disinherit your children by mistake.
5 Save heartache and money
Spending money on a will now could save thousands on your death. Also bear in mind the grief your family faces if you die intestate, leaving them with a mess to sort out.
6 Avoid giving an estranged spouse your estate
Without a will, the surviving spouse is top of the list of possible beneficiaries. So if a marriage has failed but no divorce has gone through, your ex could inherit your estate.