As none of us know what’s around the corner, it is important to consider making a Will. This is a task usually associated with old age, however there is always a risk of losing the ability to make rational decisions, leaving you unable to pass on your wishes to your loved ones. Tragedy can strike at any time and it is reassuring to know that your living intentions will be fulfilled on death. We’re going to take a look at some of the reasons that you may want to write your Will sooner rather than later.
1. Removes Uncertainty
Creating a Will removes the uncertainty as to what will happen to your estate after you have passed. Your estate will usually consist of your personal possessions, money, house and other items you wish to pass on, however it can also include things like shares in a business.
2. Control Your Estate
When you separate from a spouse, without having a Will in place, they will still be first in line to inherit your estate on death. This could not be contested by any relatives as the spouse would have a legal entitlement through marriage. By making a Will, you decide who inherits your belongings when you have passed away. This therefore bypasses any legal rights through a pre-existing marriage, and allows you to pass on possessions directly to your children without them going to someone you potentially wouldn’t want them to.
3. Clearly Set Out Your Intentions
This also works in the reverse. You may be in a relationship that has not been recognised as a marriage or civil partnership. If you have not made a Will your partner is not automatically provided for by law upon your death. Your estate would pass to blood relatives in the first instance. This is another reason why it is important to make your intentions clear in a Will.
4. Avoid the Taxman
If you die intestate (without making a valid Will) the law determines who will get your possessions. Your estate will pass wholly to your spouse in the first instance, however failing this it would pass to your children. This is then followed by siblings or close relatives if you have no children. If no living relatives can be traced, your estate will end up with the Crown. Having most likely paid taxes throughout your adult life, do you really want the tax man to get a bonus on your death? There are alternatives, even if you have no family or friends you wish to pass your estate on to. For instance a charity that may have been close to your heart can be a nominated beneficiary on your death.
5. Arrange Your Own Funeral
With a Will, you can make known your wishes for your funeral. Do your loved ones know whether you want to be buried or cremated on death? A Will can be a simple way of outlining your wishes. This can include where you want the funeral to take place and any specific hymns or readings you would like included. It will also give peace of mind to your family and friends that are arranging your funeral, knowing that they can carry out your wishes and not have to make difficult decisions.
These are just some of the many reasons for creating a Will, if you would like further information or assistance in creating a Will please get in touch with us.
Article by Graham Atkin, Adviser Support Manager for Charles James Financial Planning Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority