Millions of people who own assets such as property that are worth considerable sums and have families to care have failed to make a will.
Making a will is incredibly important. It specifies who inherits what money, property, possessions, personal mementos or charitable donations. Two-fifths of those over 55 still haven’t made a will which leaves many unanswered questions for their families. Failing to leave a will can place your family in the lengthy and complex process of sorting through your affairs. The people you love may have to wait longer to receive what you wanted them to get.
Here’s the things you really need to know when it comes to making your will.
What happens when you have no will?
When there is no will, the Government will decide who gets what from your estate. A spouse or civil partner is first in line but won’t necessarily receive everything. After that any children or grandchildren are next in line, then parents, siblings, grandparents, uncles and aunts or their children and finally half-uncles and aunts or their children.
Often if there are no relatives, the estate passes to the Crown, or the Duchies of Cornwall or Lancaster. These rules are known as the laws of intestacy.
The different types of will
There are different types of wills available, including single wills, mirror versions for couples with similar wishes, and trusts, where your estate is managed by individuals on behalf of a beneficiary. Having the wrong type of will can have repercussions on what happens to your estate and how it is divided up when you die.
Drawing up a will
A solicitor can draw up a will for you, which is generally standard practice for most people. You can also write one yourself, however if you aren’t experienced in writing wills it can lead to mistakes that will be time consuming and costly to fix after you’ve gone. Many funeral providers now provide online service such as this one. This can be worked into your funeral plans as a matter of convenience.
Changes to your will
If you prepare your will and then get married, the will you prepared will become null and void, unless impending nuptials are accounted for when the document is created. Equally, divorce also changes the terms of your will as someone referred to as husband or wife in the will will no longer have that title. Unmarried couples are not protected by the laws of intestacy. This means that if you or your partner dies, the other will inherit nothing. This underlines the importance of creating, and updating a will.
Choose your executors wisely
An executor will be someone you trust, who, when the time comes, will carry out the distribution of your estate as outlined in your will. Apart from money and property, this often now means closing down social media accounts, with 11% of people now including these instruction in their wills. Ensure that the person who executes your wishes will be capable of doing so, someone who is used to dealing with money is often beneficial.