Reasons to make a will
Damon Parker, partner in leading private client law firm Harcus Sinclair, doubts whether the only thing you want to leave your loved ones is the mess of sorting out your affairs.
Making a will is the only option
All adults who own assets should make a will.
If you die without making a will, you die intestate which is not good.
In legal jargon, by making a will you become a testator if you are a male, or testatrix if female.
In broad terms, writing a will enables the testator/testatrix to decide who will get which share of the estate; on intestacy, it is the state who decides who will benefit and by how much.
It may also be important to specify who will not receive any benefit from the estate.
In many parts of the world (including Scotland) the law requires you to leave your estate in a certain way, although you may have freedom with a proportion of your assets.
In England and Wales, whilst a person is free to leave their estate as they wish, certain people could make a claim against the estate unless adequate provision is made for them.
Why make a will
To make specific bequests:
a will allows you say exactly where you wish sums of money and/or particular possessions to go.
To obtain tax benefits:
a will can minimise the amount of inheritance tax payable.
To appoint executor(s):
executors appointed under a will can deal with an estate from the date of death whereas, on intestacy, no-one can deal with the estate until personal representatives have been appointed by a Grant of Letters of Administration which can take several weeks. This can cause problems, for example, if run your own business, no-one would be able to step into your shoes to keep the business going.
To appoint legal guardian(s) for minor children:
a valid will nominating legal guardian(s) is invaluable in making provision for children under the age of 18, particularly in the case of one-parent families or unmarried parents living together. On intestacy, the Court will decide the future of the children.
To protect unmarried partners:
if partners are unmarried, even if where they cohabit, the surviving partner will not inherit the deceased’s estate, may not be able to organise their funeral, or even be allowed to attend by the family of the deceased. This exclusion can be avoided if unmarried partners make a will.
So it essential to make a will, and to do it properly.
This will mean consulting a qualified solicitor or will writer, such are Heritage Will Writers.
When the will is written and signed, get a digital copy and put in it your Lifebox.
You can register your will by using companies such as Heritage. Make a note in your Lifebox of where you have registered your will so your executor will have this information when the vault is opened when your death has been confirmed.
A helpful document has been put in the Lifebox so that you can start the process of writing your will.
You can save money on writing a will by choosing a solicitor who takes part in Will Aid. Every November they will discount their fee for writing a will and in return ask you to donate to charity.