Many people don’t think about writing a will until they’re retired, putting it off for another time. However, the majority of Brits don’t understand the legal implications of not having a will, and if you die without a Will and Testament your family will likely face problems. It’s not just financial headaches they may face – if you have young children their lives may be impacted, and family arguments often arise when there is no will to determine who is entitled to what.
Creating a will isn’t too expensive and you should seriously think about making one soon if you haven’t already. Here are five of many reasons why everyone needs a will.
A legal document
Your will is a legal document, so it will stand up in the court of law if there are any disagreements after your death. You may have verbally expressed to family members what you wish to leave to them, but without a legal will this cannot be proven. The will explains how your estate should be divided and records your wishes for everything you own and leave behind. If you die without a will your belongings will be shared out according to the law, which may not be in line with your wishes.
The government could take everything
Many people don’t know that if you die without any living relatives or a will, legally the government inherit your possessions. If you don’t want property or possessions to be sold off and the proceeds given to the crown, you need to have a will. Trace distant relatives or give your inheritance to a friend or a charity.
Include funeral wishes
When writing a will you can choose to include some details about the funeral you wish to have. For example, you can state whether you would rather be buried or cremated, and how your funeral will be paid for. Specific funeral wishes don’t have to be met by law, but including them in your will can help family members make decisions at a very difficult time.
Reduce inheritance tax
Having a will can reduce the amount of inheritance tax that needs to be paid on your estate – the value of your property and any finances you leave behind. Without a will, your family may not receive as much as you’d like.
Your children may not be entitled to any inheritance
If you don’t leave a will, the law decides what happens to all of your money and assets, and most people don’t agree with the estate laws. For example if you are married, your spouse might inherit all of your estate and your children won’t legally get anything. If you want to name children and grandchildren in your will this will ensure you pass something on to them when you die.
Don’t get caught out by thinking you’re too young to have a will – you never know what tomorrow may bring.