As we announce our new free will-writing partnership with Bethany Christian Trust this week, Taylor Henry from our Private Client team explores the 10 tops reasons to have a will.
21 March 2022
If you do not have a will, your loved ones may require to have an executor appointed by the court and apply for a bond of caution (similar to an insurance policy). Dying without a will is often more expensive and takes more time to resolve. During what is already going to be a difficult time for your loved ones, it can be comforting knowing you have done all that you can to make the process that little bit easier for them.
You can decide who should be the executors of your estate. The executors are the people responsible for administering your estate. You should choose people that you trust to carry out the role efficiently and properly and people who will ensure your wishes are followed through.
Having a will in place lets you decide what happens with your assets. You get to decide who inherits what (with the exception of the Legal Rights rules in Scotland). If you do not have a will in place the division of your estate is determined by the legislation and this could lead to people being left out who you otherwise would have liked to inherit something.
Your will does not only deal with what happens with your assets, but also other important decisions such as appointing a guardian for young children. This is understandably a difficult thing to think about but it allows you to make sure your children will be well looked after by someone you trust. Without a will this decision may be left to the court to decide.
Having a will also allows you to nominate someone to look after your other children (your pets). If you have any pets, you can make sure that they are taken care of when you are not around to do so.
You can include legacies in your will which allows you to leave specific items or sums of money to specified people or organisations. This can include your favourite charities. You can ensure that even after you are gone you can still make a difference to your favourite causes. Charities rely so heavily on legacies contained within supporter’s wills so if you would like to make sure your chosen charity will benefit from your estate you need to specifically include them as a beneficiary and clearly set out what they should receive.
You can set up a trust in your will and trusts can be used for a variety of reasons. You can put a portion of your estate into trust until a beneficiary reaches a nominated age or you can set up a trust to protect a portion of your estate for any vulnerable beneficiaries or beneficiaries with a disability. This will allow the assets to be protected for them and managed on their behalf.
When there is a will in place, it can help to make clear what your wishes are. This means that there is less likely to be any arguments with loved ones over what you would and would not have wanted to happen.
You can include funeral instructions within your will setting out what you would like to happen. You can also appoint a chosen person whom you trust to be in charge of organising your funeral, this could be someone who is aware of your wishes and will help to ensure you have the funeral you would like.
Creating a will allows you to plan for the future. The rules on inheritance tax can be confusing but getting the right advice from a solicitor can help you to understand what will happen to your estate, whether there is a chance that inheritance tax might be payable and steps you can take to plan for the future and make full use of the allowances available to you.
People often believe that it is expensive and complicated to create a will or that they don’t need one because they “don’t have much”. There are many reasons to have a will and it is not all to do with money. Having a will in place gives you peace of mind that your family and friends are provided for, that your children will be looked after if you are not around and generally that things will happen the way you want them to, not the way the law decides. It puts you in control.