Reasons for making a Will

The reasons for making a will are varied but all good ones! Have you made a will or updated yours recently?

Not surprisingly, there was a huge surge in instructions for new and updated Wills shortly after the first lockdown in March 2020.   Those who probably already knew they needed to ask for a Will or should have their existing Wills updated instructed us and faced with a global pandemic which appeared to be attacking people without regard for age or health, this was perhaps no surprise.

But almost 2 years on, while there are still high levels of demand, there are still many people who have not made a Will, or updated their Will recently.  Is that you?  If so, here is a reminder of the reasons for making a will.

  • If an unmarried couple have children together, having a guardian appointed in a Will will ensure that if both parents die before the children reach the age of 18, they will be cared for by the person the parents choose. Guardians for children can be appointed outside of a Will, but the appointment is most often made in a Will.
  • The single parent of children under 18 who does not have a Will, means the children will inherit their estate, but it will be held on trust for the children (until they are 18) by their surviving parent. Is this what a single parent always wants?
  • If you make Will, you get to choose your executors i.e. who will be in charge when dealing with your estate.
  • If you have a business, a Will ensures a smooth succession and business continuity.
  • If you die without a Will you will probably cause your loved ones’ unnecessary stress, and your estate could be distributed in a way which you had not intended; i.e. according to the Intestacy Rules. If you live with your partner but are not married to them or in a civil partnership with them, they will receive nothing from your estate.  There is no such thing as a common-law wife or common-law husband in the eyes of the law.
  • Even if you are married or in a civil partnership, if you have children the Intestacy Rules only permit your surviving spouse/civil partner to inherit £270,000 and your personal possessions, and your children will inherit the rest of your estate. Is this what you would want?

A recently bereaved wife found to her dismay that her husband did not have a Will; his estate approached £900,000, so she only received the first £270,000 and his personal possessions, and their 17-year old son inherited the balance.  Fortunately, he turned 18 shortly after his father’s death, and after taking separate legal advice, he agreed to be party to a variation of the Intestacy Rules so that his mother took the whole estate. A Will could have avoided this.

As you can see, there are many important reasons for making a will and using a qualified solicitor to help you is the safest way to ensure your wishes are carried out.  Will drafters do not need to be qualified nor have insurance should things go wrong. Solicitors have insurance, years of training behind them and an obligation to keep up to date with the changes in the law and the current tax regime.

If you have a bad tooth you wouldn’t pull it out yourself. You would go to a qualified dentist. Let Thomson Hayton Winkley save you the pain of a badly written Will.  If you don’t have a Will, please put this right.

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