Why Should I Make a Will?

Jan 24, 2018

What is the Problem?

This one comes from Stephen in Dartford, and his question is: “Why should I make a Will?”

Well… Everyone should have a Will.

A Will formally sets out (expresses) your wishes for the distribution of your property and assets, after you have departed this mortal plane.
Your home, savings, insurance policies, investments, and personal possessions are all affected, and together these items comprise your ‘estate’.

In short, if you don’t leave instructions, someone else will make those decisions for you, and those decisions are subject to the ‘Rules of Intestacy’ (dying without a valid Will in place)

The Outline Solution

  • If you die without a Will, relatives and or loved ones will need to apply for ‘letters of administration’. This is typically where the arguments begin.
    • Making a Will enables you to choose your own executors.
  • Without a Will, your family could face a larger inheritance tax bill than is necessary.
    • Making a Will can assist the tax-planning process.
  • Without a Will relatives, and or loved ones may argue and fight over keepsakes.
    • Making a Will can allow you to bequeath specific items to specific people.
  • Without a Will, unmarried partners may not receive anything.
    • Making a Will can allow you to say otherwise
  • Without a Will, any children under the age of 18 will need to have guardians appointed.
    • Making a Will enables you to appoint the guardians you would wish to look after your children.
  • Without a Will, the Crown could end up with all or part of your estate, depending on your circumstances.
    • Making a Will gives you the power to decide what happens.

Possible Arguments Against You

  • A poorly constructed Will can be as damaging as having no Will at all.
  • A Will is valid so long as it:
    • clearly states how your estate should be shared
    • is signed and dated in the presence of 2 independent adult witnesses,
    • is signed and dated by said independent adult witnesses
    • where the witnesses are not included in the Will,
    • was made at a time when you had the mental capacity to make your own decisions, and
    • you were not placed under pressure as to who you would include in your Will.
  • The verbal agreement and acceptance of your Will by friends and family doesn’t mean that arguments won’t occur after you’ve gone.

The Almost Legal Info

  • The cost of a professionally prepared basic Will typically ranges from £50.00 to £300.00, depending whether you use the services of a solicitor, or a specialist Will writing service.
  • Do it yourself Will packs are also available from major stores and typically cost somewhere between £12.00 and £50.00
  • This is inexpensive when you consider the potential upset, dispute, and tax liability that you can prevent by making a Will and when taken in the context of the average lifetime, amounts to less than a penny a day.
  • If in doubt get into the habit of reviewing your Will at least once a year (perhaps on New Years day), just to double check it needs no alteration. You can perhaps tie up a review of your Will, with a review of your "will-power" (ie: your new year’s resolutions and goals for the year)!
    • You should review your Will, upon marriage, separation, divorce, the birth of your own children, and or those of other friends and relatives (eg nieces, nephews, cousins) whom you may wish to include, and or when wealth changes occur (eg you get a new job, or new home)
    • If an executor named in your Will dies, you will need to review your Will.

Helpful Paragraphs:

  • You can change your Will by making an official alteration called a codicil. There is no limit to the number of codicils you can add to your Will.
  • Please remember your instructions should be as clear as possible; you should avoid ambiguities so as to avoid misinterpretation.

Need More Help?

Ultimately, it starts with you. If you want to prepare your Will we may be able to recommend a reliable Estate Planner. Use the contact us page to get in touch. You may also find the Wills Trusts and Powers of Attorney Webinar to be of great use: you can find it in the ToolBox.


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