It’s a little known fact that only one in three of us in the UK have written a will. While it’s not necessarily enjoyable to think about what will happen after we pass away, it’s an incredibly important document to have. You may feel like putting it off, it’s worth noting, a huge amount of peace of mind can be gained by having an up-to-date and official will.
What happens if you don’t have a will? Well, that depends on your situation. If you are unmarried but with a long term partner, under current laws your partner will not have the right to any of your assets – including any property you own. If you are married, your spouse may be required to share any inheritance with others in your family. Both of these could lead to a bereaved spouse or partner having to sell the home in order to release the equity in the home. If you have no close family, your estate may be inherited by very distant relatives rather than someone you have been close to for a long time. If you have children, you will not have any influence over their guardianship after your demise if you don’t have a will. On top of this, you may have to pay more inheritance tax on everything you leave behind.
How to write a will? You can get will-writing kits in some post offices, however it is strongly recommended to work with a solicitor to make sure that it genuinely represents your wishes, minimizes inheritance tax and covers all the bases.
What should your will include? Your solicitors will be able to guide you through writing your will; however there are a few crucial elements to include. You can specify the people and charities you would like to leave your money to. If you have young children, you can specify who you would like to be their guardian if anything happens to you. You can name the people you would like to be the executors of your will, as well as taking steps to keep the inheritance tax from the money and property you leave behind to a minimum. If you own a business you can specify the succession, so that you can leave in the hands of someone you know will look after it and grow it according to your wishes. If you are leaving a large inheritance, you also have the option of setting up a trust for future generations of your family. On top of all this, you can outline your funeral wishes.