When you pass away your family and friends are often the ones who will sort out your ‘estate’. Leaving a written will ensures that this process will run as smoothly as possible.
If you don’t write a will, you risk your estate being divided up in a way which you may not agree with. It also means that you won’t be able to leave specific gifts to your loved ones or charities.
Writing a will can actually help reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax owed to the Government. Leaving specific gifts to your spouse/civil partner or children will (in most cases) automatically exempt that asset from being liable to Inheritance Tax.
If you have children or other dependants, your will can be a tool to ensure that they are looked after properly once you’re no longer with them.
Writing a will also allow you to decide who should look after your children as their legal guardian if they are under the age of 18. Failure to do this can result in the courts appointing a guardian which risks somebody you may not agree with being in control of your children’s affairs.
If you have stepchildren and want them to be provided for it is extremely important for you to write a will. Unfortunately, the legal system will not account for stepchildren when dividing your estate should you die without creating a will.
Unmarried partners won’t receive anything from your estate unless it is specifically mentioned in a will even if you have been together for most of your life. Writing a will is the only way to ensure that they will be entitled to the proceeds of your estate.
Writing a will is the best way to guarantee that your unmarried partner/stepchildren do not lose their home if you pass away. You can leave them the property in its entirety or give them a right to reside in the property. If no will has been created to this affect, the property risks being passed to other parties who may seek to remove your unmarried partner/step children.
The unfortunate reality is that the death of a family member often leads to disputes. At a time of heightened emotions, it is all too common to see family’s squabble over the deceased assets. Writing a will and leaving specific personal items to those you care about it the best way to ensure your family knows what you wanted to happen to your estate. Writing a will can help avoid arguments and reduce the stress felt by your family and loved ones.
Within your will, you can name an executor, or multiple executors, who will be in charge of carrying out your final wishes. Choosing your executor in advance allows you to select the best person for the task. It also gives the executor prior warning so they can prepare themselves.
If you have any pets you may want to consider who will look after them once you’re gone. It isn’t just human family that you need to plan for! It is common to assign somebody to look after the animal as well as setting aside a sum of money to provide for the animal’s needs.
If there is a charity that is particularly close to your heart you may want to consider leaving a donation to them in your will. Many charities are reliant on this type of donation in order to continue carrying out their amazing work. As well as supporting a good cause, you could potentially reduce the amount of inheritance tax paid by your family if you leave more than 10% of your assets to a registered charity/charities.
Your will is one of the most important documents you will create during your lifetime. It will dictate your last wishes along with providing financially for your loved ones. There are several things you should consider before making your will.