Many of my clients associate big birthdays, retirement, or the arrival of grandchildren as the event that prompts them to “get their will sorted”. Of course, the real attitude should be “the time is now”. Here are five reasons why every adult, including a “young” person should make a will.
Reason One – Avoid intestacy
If you do not make a valid will, your estate will pass under the rules of intestacy. This means the initial order of those entitled to your estate will be your spouse, children, parents, followed by your whole blood brothers and sisters, their descendants, and then your half brothers and sisters, and their descendants.
Reason Two – Ensure that you provide for your spouse
Some often think even under intestacy it will be okay; “my spouse will get everything anyway won’t they?” Wrong. If you are married your spouse will only be entitled to the first £250,000 of your estate, your personal possessions (your car, jewellery etc.) and half of the remainder of your estate.So if you want to make sure your spouse is adequately provided for (i.e. leave all of your estate to them) you need to make sure this gift is in your will. You may also be part of the “silver separator” movement and separated, but not yet divorced from your spouse. This is even more reason to get your affairs in order should you not wish for them to benefit from your estate on your death.
Reason Three – You may cohabitate with a Boyfriend / Girlfriend / Fiancé / Partner
If you are arguably sensible but not married and you do not make a will, your other half will not be entitled at all under the rules of intestacy. Most people try living together before marrying or choose to cohabit for second and subsequent relationships, and so it is very important that the person you share your life with will not be under any financial strain on your death. Equally, it is important that they will not have to take up other legal avenues to make a claim on your estate because they were financially dependent on you.
Reason Four – Pitter patter and paws
Should you have minor children, you can appoint guardians in your will so you choose who would look after them if the worst was to happen to you. If you prefer pugs over toddlers, or your toddlers are now all grown up, you can also express a wish about who you want to look after your pets.
Reason Five – Invincible?
Quite frankly, if you think you are “not old enough” to organise your will this is the biggest reason for you to consider doing so! If something were to happen to you unexpectedly, it would already be a shocking and sad enough situation. Leaving your affairs in a mess for your loved ones to deal with is an added stress for them as opposed to simply being able to follow your wishes and instructions. In your will you can appoint responsible adults you trust to be your executors so they can follow what you want to happen with your assets. Remember, you can always amend your will at a later date and, although the hope is that it won’t be needed for a very long time, that extra peace of mind is always worthwhile.
Solicitor at IBB Solicitors
Tanya is a member of SFE. She is very keen on advising people in a clear and friendly manner.
IBB Solicitors is West London’s leading law firm who provide expertise in almost every area of the law.