Every year thousands of people die intestate (without leaving behind a valid will). Many people think that they don’t need one, that they don’t have anything worth leaving behind or that they have plenty of time to make a will. However, dying intestate can cause many problems including delays, further expense and uncertainty for loved ones.
If you are currently undecided about making a will, read on for our top 10 reasons to make a will:
- You get to choose how your estate will be distributed. This is the most obvious reason and why most of our clients come to see us. If you don’t have a will then your estate will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy. This may not be how you want your property to be distributed.
- You can provide for any partners who you are not married to. Unfortunately the law does not recognise any “common law” marriage and if you die without leaving a will, your partner will not receive anything;
- You can choose who will administer your estate. Your executors (read our executors blog article here) are the ones who will gather in and distribute your assets so ideally you would pick trusted relatives or friends;
- You can appoint guardians for your children should you die before they reach 18. This can provide you with peace of mind knowing that should anything happen to you, your children will be cared for.
- It can speed things up. For low value estates, it may not always be necessary to obtain a grant of probate; your executors may be able to simply provide companies and/or banks with the will, death certificate (or certified copies), and your ID to collect in the assets.
- You can help to minimise any family disputes, e.g. over your beloved jukebox or jewellery collection. If you have a will leaving specific bequests to specific beneficiaries, your family will not have to argue about what you would have wanted to happen to individual items.
- You can put measures in place to assist with tax planning;
- It can provide a smooth transition for any business or investments;
- You can set up trusts for children including any stipulation that they are not to receive their inheritance until they are 25 for example if you have any worries about leaving large sums of money to young beneficiaries;
- Depending upon the value of any gifts to charities, your estate could benefit from receiving a 4% tax break for inheritance tax.
If you want to discuss making a will and how it can benefit you, please call our specialist wills and probate solicitors in Leeds, Wakefield, Bradford, Manchester and London on 0113 244 9931.