A Will is one of the most important documents you will ever sign.
It directs what should happen to your assets when you die and who should be responsible for dealing with your directions.
Whether you have a family or not and whether you have a lot to leave, or perhaps just a little – don’t you want to be the one to decide who gets it – and not leave it to chance – or rather to the State?
Generally, we don’t know when we are going to die – we assume it will be when we are much older – and so we put it off. Some people are superstitious and worry that just thinking about their Will may be unlucky.
But surely, the worst scenario is doing nothing and causing stress and uncertainty for the people you care about the most, at a time when they are already grieving.
Whatever you have – and we all have something – here are my 10 reasons why we all need to leave a Will:
- If you start a family – to provide for your children and to appoint guardians to look after them if their other parent has died.
- If you get married – as marriage revokes a Will, so even if you had one already, you will need a new one, or to make one in expectation of that particular marriage.
- If you live with your ‘significant other’ – you may want to make some provision for them. Remember that a common law spouse has no legal meaning and they will not inherit automatically.
- If you run a business – to provide for how the business can keep running after your death, possibly until a buyer can be found and to be sure that you have appointed suitable executors, who will be able to do this.
- If your estate will be liable to Inheritance tax – to maximise tax planning opportunities e.g. perhaps leaving business assets that will otherwise be exempt from tax to non-exempt beneficiaries.
- If you have young children – to make sure they don’t inherit when they are too young and perhaps too immature to be able to manage larger sums of money.
- If you look after elderly parents or other people who rely on you financially – to make sure that the right provisions are in place.
- To give to charities – which, if they are registered in this country, will be free of Inheritance tax and may, subject to the amount you leave them, reduce the tax liability on the remainder of your estate.
- Funeral – to make your wishes known i.e. whether you want to be buried or cremated and what type of funeral service you want.
- To choose your executors – so that you can be sure you have chosen the most suitable and able people to deal with your estate when you have died.
If you die without a Will – your estate will pass under the Intestacy Rules and you will have no choice who gets your estate and who deals with it. The end result could be that the people who need it most don’t inherit what they need and that the matter ends up in Court.