Some of the latest statistics suggest more than half of the UK population has not made a will and a significant percentage of that number won’t make one before they reach their old age. There are many risks involved in not making a will, and although it goes without saying that the primary reason you should make one is that that you then get to control what happens with your estate and who benefits.
If the worst should happen, and someone dies without making a will, their estate will fall under the rules of intestacy. While these are intended to be fair to all, they won’t suit everyone, and the differences between one estate and another means that they won’t be a perfect match to your wishes. The only way to ensure your wishes are carried out how you want, it to make a properly structured will.
In this blog, Jennifer Charlton looks at the top six reasons you should make your wishes evident.
1 Nominating Beneficiaries
Without a valid will, your estate will pass according to the rules of intestacy, set rules which are unlikely to suit everyone. Under the rules of intestacy, unmarried partners are unlikely to receive anything and with the rise in unmarried partnerships, this is a growing issue. You may also have specific items or wishes such as cash gifts to particular individuals or charities which will not benefit under the intestacy rules.
2 Appointing Executors
Making a will allows you to appoint the people who will administer your estate, called your executors. Given the important role they will play, you will probably want to appoint executors you can trust and who have the ability to make the decisions that will ensure your estate is distributed in line with your wishes. You can also appoint a professional executor if you don’t want to nominate a family member.
3 Appointing Guardians
If you have young children, a will enables you to name trusted people to take care of them if something unexpected happens to you. Guardianship can be hotly contested, with many relatives wanting to help in times of bereavement. Formally appointing a guardian in your will gives you the ability to ensure your children are looked after by people you choose and who can control matters should any disputes arise.
4 Inheritance Tax
Planning your estate correctly can minimise the tax burden faced by those administering your estate. While some tax allowances will apply automatically, others need to be planned for. A well-structured will can enable your executors to make use of all available allowances and could potentially prevent your estate from paying any tax at all.
Making a will enables you to protect certain assets from expensive care fees and allows you to balance the interests of various family members such as the children from an earlier marriage/relationship and a current spouse/partner. If you have vulnerable family members, a suitably structured will can also protect their inheritance for them.
6 Avoiding Family Disputes
At the most sensitive of times, the last thing that people need is arguments over arrangements. By taking care and putting in place a properly thought over will, it can mean that the potential for any dispute within the family can be managed, therefore avoiding problems at a later date.
Planning and protecting
With house prices as high as they are, some estates will be worth substantial amounts of money, so making sure things are in order is important to ensure your family is looked after. At BPE, we are experienced in making sure your wishes are correctly recorded, and your estate is administered to benefit those you care for.
These notes have been prepared for the purpose of articles only. They should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice.