– by Helen Phillips
“It’s ok, I’ll sort it out another time. I don’t need a Will yet anyway.” This train of thought has more than likely passed through the minds of numerous people; after all, it’s something you only really need to think about when you reach a certain age…or is it?
In truth, it’s really important for everyone to make a Will, no matter what your age. It’s not only something you should contemplate doing in your 60s, 70s or 80s. The unexpected really can be just around the corner, and, whilst it may be taboo to talk about it, there is no harm at all in being prepared for it! In fact, by being prepared and having a Will in place, if the worst does happen, then your family won’t have to suffer the added distress of sorting out financial affairs at an already incredibly difficult time.
If you do die before you’ve made a Will then the Intestacy Rules automatically apply. What this means is that your estate will have to be divided up according to very precise rules. It isn’t safe to rely on the Intestacy Rules as they may not give effect to your individual wishes. Say, for example, you specifically wanted your nephew to inherit £10,000. However, you never got around to making a Will. Under the Intestacy Rules, nieces and nephews may be able to inherit from your estate, but it depends on whether there are relatives alive who have a better claim to it. So in reality, your specific wishes may end up going by the wayside and your nephew may not actually inherit anything at all. To ensure that the people you want to benefit from your estate actually do benefit from it, you must make a Will.
If you die before making a Will, it isn’t even safe to assume that your spouse will receive all of your estate. If you have children then your spouse will only receive the first £250,000 of your estate and a life interest in half the balance. While £250,000 may look like a lot of money when it’s written down, these days £250,000 may not even cover the whole of the value of your home, let alone adding in the value of your belongings or any savings you may have. Again, to ensure that your spouse inherits what you want them to, you must make a Will.
One last, and very important, thing to consider: For a lot of people, the first thing that comes to mind when you start thinking about making a Will is that you just need to specify who you want to leave your belongings and money to in the event of your death. But, if you have children, there are much more important things to consider than your belongings. If you have children, you seriously need to consider who you would wish to look after them in the event that both you and their other parent are, for example, killed in an accident. Again, it’s a taboo subject, and one that people tend to shy away from. However, if you have that chat with your family and friends now and decide who you wish to look after your little ones, you can formalise this in your Will. Then you can rest assured, that if the worst happens, your children will be cared for by the people you would want to look after them.
It’s better not to leave any of these matters to chance and for the sake of modest fee you can ensure that the people you want to look after your children look after them and that the people you want to have the benefit of your estate receive it. As an added incentive to get your Will sorted, we are running a special offer of 20% off the cost of a Will for all instructions received during the month of July 2014. Just head to our Special Offer section, where you’ll find a printable voucher code available to download.