Most people do not like thinking about their own death but this can be a mistake. It is very important to make a Will, as without one, many problems can be left behind for loved ones to resolve.
Here are 10 good reasons to make a Will:-
- To avoid the rules of Intestacy.
If you do not make a Will, the law applies the “rules of intestacy”, which set out who will benefit from your estate. These rules may not do what you expect or indeed do what you want.
- To choose your Executors and Trustees.
Your Executors are people appointed by you to deal with your estate in the event of your death. They are responsible for ensuring that your estate is distributed in accordance with your Will.
The Executors have an important role which can involve liaising with the Court to obtain a Grant of Probate and file important accounts with HM Revenue and Customs.
- To choose your beneficiaries.
A Will is the only opportunity which you get to choose the beneficiaries of your estate. You may wish to ensure that all of your estate passes to your surviving spouse or to your children. You may be unmarried but have a long term partner and wish for him or her to benefit from your estate; you may have step –children whom you wish to benefit and you may of curse, wish to leave something to your friends or to a charity. All of these matters can only be addressed by making a Will.
- To appoint Guardians to look after your infant children.
In a Will you can appoint guardians to look after your children whilst they remain minors, in the event of your death. This is an important matter and is your opportunity to name the people whom you want to look after your children.
- To decide at which age your beneficiaries inherit.
If you do not make a Will then all beneficiaries will inherit at the age of 18 years. You may wish to delay the age of inheritance as you feel 18 years of age is too young and may want your beneficiaries to inherit at the of 21 or 25 years of age. By making a Will you can decide upon the age of inheritance. You can also make provision for your Executors and Trustees to have the power to advance money to the beneficiaries whilst they are under the age of inheritance. This can ensure that the beneficiary is suitably maintained and has the financial means to continue with educational pursuits. The beneficiary cannot demand the full inheritance until he or she reaches the age of inheritance as specified in your Will.
- To confirm your funeral arrangements.
Unless your wishes are written down they may not be known, leaving your loved ones at an emotional time to guess at what you really wanted. This is a very personal matter that should be carefully considered and formally recorded in your Will.
- To save Tax.
If your estate is worth more than allowed by the Chancellor (currently £325,000) your loved ones could pay tax at 40% on inheritance following your death. It is important to ascertain how Inheritance Tax can be saved.
- To avoid your estate reverting to the Crown
If you have not made a Will and you have no family, your estate may revert to the Crown. This is a serious consideration – why should you benefit the government?
- If you have married or entered into a Civil Partnership since making a Will.
In most cases your old Will is automatically revoked with the new marriage/civil partnership. This may not be what you want especially if you have left property to children of a previous marriage. Similarly a will should be re-drawn at the time of divorce even if re-marriage is not contemplated.
- To give you peace of mind.
It is never a matter that many of us wish to think about but once you have made your Will you know in your own mind that matters have been addressed. With the right advice and guidance making a Will need not be a long or complex process. A professionally prepared Will can also ensure that in the event of your death, your affairs are dealt with smoothly.
The above points are intended purely as an overview of this area of the Law in England and Wales and no action should be taken upon it without specific legal advice.
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