We have written on numerous occasions of the danger of either failing to leave a will or of not taking professional advice when making your will. Among the difficulties that can arise with DIY wills are challenges by family members who have been excluded...
You can make a Will any time after you are 18 years old.
There are also some life events that are often triggers for the preparation of a Will:
- Becoming financially independent from parents or carers
- Buying a property
- Getting married
- Having children
- Getting re-married
- A terminal illness
It is a good idea to review an existing Will every five years to keep it in line with any changes in your family circumstances and changes in taxation laws
Why it is important to make a Will
- If you don’t write a Will, your property, possessions and money (your ‘estate’) will be shared out in a standard way defined by the law, which means your spouse, civil partner or partner and children will not necessarily automatically inherit everything from your estate
- A well-structured Will can ensure complex family structures are provided for so that your assets are shared out as you wish to family members, new spouses, second families and also to people outside your family including charities and ultimately limits the possibility of family disputes
- A Will can direct your business interests to those you wish
- Trusts can be created in a Will for reasons such as:
- providing that a share of the family home passes into a Trust on first death, which may give the survivor a right to occupy, down-size or move property, and will ensure that the capital will be preserved from nursing home fees and instead passes to the intended beneficiaries; and
- protecting assets should future generations suffer financial or matrimonial difficulties, or the beneficiaries are not mature or responsible enough to own large sums of money.
- A Will gives clear instructions as to who you wish to appoint guardians to look after your children whilst they are under 18.
- If you have assets in multiple jurisdictions or you or your parents were born abroad then this will need to be taken into account when making a Will
- You can detail your specific funeral arrangements
- A Will makes it much easier for your family or friends to deal with your estate when you die – without a Will the process can be time consuming, expensive and stressful
- A will can help reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax that may be payable on the value of the property and money you leave behind.
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