Almost two thirds of the adult population in the UK does not have a will – are you one of them?
If you die without making a will, your friends and family will have a lot to deal with at a difficult time when they are already grieving. But making a will is not as difficult as you might think and it isn’t only for the rich. To make sure that your will reflects your wishes you will need to consider a few issues first.
Who you would like to appoint as your executor(s) – these are the people who will carry out the instructions in your will. You need to make sure they are happy to take on this responsibility. It is advisable to have more than one and they need to be over the age of 18. There is no rule that says they cannot also benefit from your will.
Who you would like to leave your estate to – do you want it to be split equally between a number of people, or do you want individuals to inherit a certain portion of your estate? You might have sentimental items that you would like certain people to inherit. You can only specify this if you make a will.
If you have small children, you can appoint someone of your choice to be their guardians and look after them until a certain age if you die before them. Please make sure you agree this with the proposed guardians. If you leave your estate to these children, you can appoint the guardians, or different people, to be trustees to look after the estate until your children reach the age at which you would want them to inherit; usually 18 or 21.
You can identify your funeral wishes in your will. Many people find it difficult to discuss this but by doing so, and ensuring your wishes are included in your will, you can make sure that you get the funeral that you want.
You may need to think about your pets, which are often like another member of the family, and what might happen to them when you die. If you have agreed with someone or know someone that would be happy to take responsibility for your pet when you die, you can have this written into your will.
You may support a particular charity and would like it to benefit from your estate when you die. You can also include this in your will.
Many people do not like discussing their death so put off making a will. The difficulty then comes when they die intestate (without having made a will) and their estate is distributed according to strict regulations, which often don’t reflect what the deceased would have wanted.
For help and advice, contact our friendly experts now. We will help you make sure that your family and friends are fully aware of your wishes and are able to benefit from your estate in the way you intend by drafting your will in the most tax efficient way possible.
Author: Rachel Towle