‘It’s too expensive’; ‘I don’t own anything of value’; ‘everything will go to my husband/wife anyway’ or ‘I don’t have the time’ are all common misconceptions that may cause your loved ones left behind unnecessary problems and costs. A Will gives you control, options and choice over who inherits your belongings and in what proportions. Without a Will the government will decide who gets what.
It doesn’t matter how little you think you have, it is important that you make a Will so that you can make a number of different provisions. The top 10 reasons for making a Will include:
- To appoint an Executor
An Executor is a person who will deal with everything after you die. If you do not appoint an Executor or if you die without a Will an Administrator will be appointed to deal with your estate.
- To provide for your spouse/partner
If you do not make a Will your spouse will not automatically inherit all your estate. An unmarried partner will not inherit at all unless you make specific provision for them in your Will! At present the idea of a common law husband/wife is not recognised. Your partner may have to take legal action to receive any part of your estate, which could be costly.
- To provide for your minor children
By making a Will you can nominate who is to look after your children otherwise the law will decide, which can cause added emotional anxiety and distress at what is already a difficult time. You can also decide how to provide for their upkeep and education.
- To provide for disabled children/relatives
A Will can be specifically drafted to incorporate provisions, known as a trust, to safeguard your money for a disabled child or relative. You can also leave special instructions for their care.
- If you have recently married, separated or divorced
If you have an old Will which you made before you were married, the marriage would have invalidated your Will. If you have divorced the gift to your ex-spouse will lapse and if you are separated you may find that your estate will go to your spouse even if this is not what you may want.
It is important to keep your Will up to date as your personal circumstances change so should anything happen to you your estate and possessions are left to the people that you want to receive it.
- To decide about your funeral
You can leave specific instructions about your funeral, whether you would prefer to be buried or cremated or indeed if you would prefer to be buried with a relative.
- To take advantage of tax savings provisions
In some cases we can include provision to mitigate tax which would otherwise be payable on your estate. We can also advise on lifetime tax savings steps which you can take to reduce the tax you have to pay.
- You can decide who is to receive your personal belongings
You can state who is to receive your personal belongings such as a valued piece of jewellery or a family heirloom. These items will otherwise be distributed according to Statutory Law created by the government which often will exclude friends or relatives.
- To avoid family conflicts
If you leave a Will clearly setting out what you would like to happen it reduces the likelihood of family disputes. All too often we hear that the deceased person would not have wanted what is happening with their estate – if you make a Will, you can prevent these disputes and avoid those that you leave behind being involved in costly and distressing legal proceedings.
- So you can make the choice
Simply, a Will is your opportunity to make your final wishes known. Don’t allow the law to make these final decisions for you, make a Will!
Anyone over the age of 18 years who is of sound mind can make a Will. It must be signed in the presence of two independent adult witnesses and must be dated. Once the Will is made it can be stored at the firm free of charge.