We know you might not want to think about making a will, but it’s one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your loved ones.
It can be simple to set up but there are some things that you should be aware of to avoid confusion and even disputes between loved ones after you pass away.
Indeed, our own research discovered one in three people felt they had been purposefully left out of a will. By planning ahead, you can avoid your family experiencing this kind of strife.
The specialists at First4lawyers are here to help ensure that your wishes are binding in UK law, that your estate is shared exactly how you want and to give you the chance to ensure everyone is taken care of.
Why do I need a will?
While you may have spent your life working to provide for yourself and your family, it is just as important to ensure that your loved ones receive the personal and financial support they need after you’re gone.
You may have a house, savings, shares, investments and a host of other personal possessions, all of which are part of your 'estate'. Making a will ensures that when you die, your possessions will be shared according to your wishes. The presence of a will may also help to minimise inheritance tax; this is payable by your estate if its value comes to £325,000 or more.
I don’t have much money to my name and I’m still young – should I still make a will?
Making a will might be necessary even you don’t have much money or possessions and feel that you are in good health.
If you have children, you should name a person that you would like to become their legal guardian in the event of your death. If you do not name a guardian, the courts will make this decision in your absence.
The idea that making a will is for older people is a misconception. You may believe you are too young to worry about your death and that time is on your side. However, life is unpredictable. So to protect those around you, it’s wise to make a will as soon as you can.
What happens if I don't leave a will?
If you pass away without leaving a will, then you die ‘intestate’. As a result, your estate will be shared in line with the rules of intestacy. This will also be the case if you leave a will but it is invalid.
What should I put in my will?
Your will should set out the following terms:
- The people (or entities, such as charities) you want to benefit from your will and in what ways.
- Who you want to carry out your wishes and deal with your estate after your death (your executor).
- What happens if the people you want to inherit your estate die before you do.
How do I make sure my will is legally binding?
For your will to be legally valid, you must be over the age of 18. You must also consent to making the will, be of sound mind, and it must take the form of a written document.
Finally, you must sign the will in front of two witnesses over 18, each of whom must also sign the document in your presence. If you add any terms or make changes to your will, you must follow exactly the same process.
Do I need legal advice?
While you can draw up a will without the help of solicitors, it is highly advisable that you do seek professional advice.
Here at First4lawyers, it is our job to do the complicated bits for you and to make certain you’re properly protecting your interests after you’re gone. And as you’ll be calling on the help of highly experienced professionals, you can be confident your wishes will have a strong legal basis.
The law surrounding inheritance – including trusts and inheritance tax – is very complex. However, our solicitors know it inside out and are here to help you make the best choices for you. For help making a will, get in touch.