There are lots of reasons to make a will. But they all boil down to one: certainty.
We can all rest easier knowing that after we have died, our property and assets are going to be put to the best use to look after our loved ones.
If you don’t make a will, the law isn’t suddenly going to turn your family out on to the street. Your property will pass to your family, following strict provisions known as the “intestacy rules”. But those rules are indeed strict – you have no control over them. The law would not distinguish, for example, between one of your children who has become wealthy and another who is struggling.
With a will, you have the control over how to pass on your property, and it is your wishes – not the law – that determine how your estate will benefit the people you want to provide for.
So here, in brief, are the 10 top reasons for making a will.
- make sure your personal belongings, property, money and other assets pass to the people you want to have them
- decide the proportions in which your estate is divided (if you don’t do this, the law dictates the division of assets)
- avoid disputes that can be so damaging to families at such a vulnerable time
- make it clear who is to look after your estate when you have died – by choosing executors carefully you can save your loved ones the headaches and problems of having to tie up your affairs
- appoint legal guardians for your children
- decide when people can receive their legacies (for example: if and when they get married, when they reach 25, etc)
- set out your funeral wishes – again saving other people the additional grief of worrying about that
- make gifts of money or other property to people not in your family (without a will, only family can benefit under the intestacy rules)
- make tax-free donations to charity
- minimise the inheritance tax due on your estate
And an additional reason for you and your partner – “mirror wills” allow you both to make the same provision so that whichever of you dies first, the same provision for your loved ones can be made.
Making a will is a serious business, but it doesn’t have to be a complicated one if your affairs are straightforward. Read more here from Simplify the Law about how and why to make a will.
Your loved ones will thank you for it.