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Top five reasons people put off writing their will

Private client lawyer Nicola Waldman shares the most common ‘excuses’ she hears from people procrastinating over making a will.

1. Superstition

Somehow, people believe that if they even think about making a will, it’s unlucky and they might die. But, realistically, most of us feel better knowing we have made provision for the people and organisations we love and care about.

2. It’s all too complicated

Family circumstances such as second or third marriages and step-children can make an estate feel so complicated, it’s easier not to think about it and hope somehow it will get sorted when you’re gone. But it’s not fair to expect other people to work through your mess and it’s more likely to create friction between those you leave behind, let alone the possibility of the whole thing ending up in court.

3. I don’t need one

People often wrongly believe:

a. Their estate isn’t worth enough to need a will
b. It will all pass under intestacy anyway to their intended beneficiaries.

But if you die without a will, it passes under intestacy rules to your closest relatives, and in a fixed order. This may not be what you intended, particularly if you live with a partner but are not married to them – they don’t benefit at all. Also, if you are married with children, subject to the value of your estate, part may go to the spouse and part to the children, and that may be taxable, something that could have been avoided.

4. I made one ages ago

Fine, but it may now be out of date because:

a. The law has changed
b. Your assets have changed
c. You want or need to change the beneficiaries
d. You have divorced and/or married
e. You’ve had children.

5. It’s too expensive

I would say that leaving your estate in order so that your loved ones are protected is a price worth paying – and it may be a lot cheaper than the alternative, where the matter could end up in court.