Why create a Will?
You spend the majority of your life working hard to provide for your loved ones and for yourself. Maybe you’ve saved some money for a rainy day, paid off some or all of your mortgage, or have built up an admirable collection of high quality personal possessions. These things are your legacy, and can benefit those you love best in the event of your death, but only if you create a will.
If you’re wondering why you should create a will, here’s what you need to know.
Why create a Will and what does it do?
A Will, quite simply, outlines what you want to happen to your valuables and possessions after your death. It lets you ensure your loved ones, friends and relatives are taken care of after you’ve gone, and that your assets are distributed in a way that you approve of.
Making a Will can help avoid your family paying more inheritance tax than is necessary, and can avoid a lot of heartache and arguments after your death too. You can write your Will yourself quite easily, but if things are complicated or you have a high value of assets, it is recommended to create a Will with legal guidance.
Once your Will is made, you can make changes to it further down the line if situations change or you are unhappy with your previous decision. This official alteration is called a ‘Codicil’, and is good for small changes. The alternative is to scrap that Will entirely and make a new one, which may be more appropriate if you have big changes to make.
As well as detailing who gets what, your Will names the person or people who will handle your Estate after your death. These people are called your ‘Executors’, and are usually your closest relatives or friends, but can also be a solicitor. You can also include instructions relating to your funeral in your will, and even messages to be read after you’ve passed.
Why create a Will at all?
All this might sound like a bit of a hassle, and something that is not high on your list of priorities right now. However, there are some good reasons for making a Will which you should consider before putting off this important job.
- Your wishes will be carried out as you wanted: Without a will, the law will decide who gets what, which might not reflect the way you wanted things to be.
- Your children will be taken care of: In a will, you can state who is to take care of your children in the event that both you and your partner die. Without this, they could end up in the care of the state.
- You can reduce inheritance tax: If advice is taken in advance and a will made, it if possible to avoid paying too much inheritance tax, so your family will benefit from more of your assets.
- Your family won’t suffer additional stress: A will makes it much easier for your loved ones to sort out your estate after your death. At a time when they are already grieving, a well put together will can be a big relief.
- The right people will be taken care of: If you have a partner you are not married to, or have close friends who are not blood related but you would like to give something to after you die, a will is the only way to ensure this happens as you’d hoped it would.
If you’re relatively young and healthy, you might think you’ve got the rest of your life to sort all this out. Why should you be thinking about death now? Well, if you want to be sure that your wishes are carried out after you die, there really is no time like the present to start on your will. We never know what’s around the corner, so if there are important people in your life, think about starting to create a will sooner rather than later.
What happens if you don’t create a Will?
The most important point to remember when asking ‘why create a Will’ is that without a Will, the law says who gets what after you die. When you die without leaving a Will, you don’t get any say in what happens to your assets, and they could end up with a distant blood relative rather than with the people you were genuinely close to.
When you die without a Will, this is called Intestacy. The precise consequences of dying intestate vary between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but some problems will be common no matter where you live. For example:
- Unmarried partners get nothing: No matter how long you have been with your partner, if you are not married and they are not named in a Will, they will be left with nothing.
- Married partners get everything: Your husband or wife will get all of your Estate, leaving nothing for your children, even if you were separated.
- Children or grandchildren may be left out of pocket: The amount payable to offspring varies between the countries of the UK, but may not be what you would have wished to leave.
- With no close living relatives, the Crown gets everything: Called bona vacantia, this law means that if you don’t have a close blood relative the government will take all your assets.
- Inheritance tax will be higher: Without a Will, any inheritance tax owed by your Estate is likely to be higher than it would have been if you’ve made a Will.
In the last year alone, the government in the UK obtained around £8 million worth of money and property as a result of people dying without a Will. Making a Will is much easier than you might think, and there are even services now that allow you to make a Will online, just like right here at Lexikin. This means there are no legal fees to pay, and everything can be done quickly and easily from the comfort of your own home.
Don’t risk leaving behind a big mess for your family and friends. Create a Will today and be reassured that, if the worst does happen, all the people you love will be taken care of as you’d wished.
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