According to the Financial Times, more than 50% of Brits do not have a will. Although there are plenty of reasons for organising a will, a lot of people presume the law will divide things fairly when the time comes. This, of course, isn’t necessarily true.
Without a will, your property will go to your closest relatives (spouse and children). However, if you aren’t married or want your money to go somewhere else, this may not be possible without a will.
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Let’s take a look at three big reasons for organising a will from Andrea Bingham, head of the wills, trusts and probate department at JMP Solicitors.
1. Wills are much simpler than you imagine
A will can be easy to arrange and also very affordable. A lawyer can help you sort out a will in just a few simple steps.
As Andrea explains, “Once you get in contact with a reputable lawyer, everything will be taken care of for you and you will be advised every step of the way, until a will is finalised.”
If your will is going to be very straightforward, there’s no reason you can’t draw it up yourself. You can even set up a will online. It’s still a good idea to have an expert check it, though.
For complicated wills, expert help is always important. A will that’s not done properly might not be legally valid. An expert is also essential if you own a business, need to make special provisions or have certain requests regarding your burial.
2. Life is unpredictable
There’s no such thing as being too young for a will. There are many reasons for a will, but knowing you have your affairs in order should be the top one.
When you have a will, you can designate an executor. This is the person or persons in charge of handling your affairs after your death. You can appoint a friend or family member as an executor. Or you can hire a lawyer to handle this.
You might be young and healthy now, but planning for things will ensure your loved ones don’t have to go to court later on. And if you have children under the age of 18, a will allows you to appoint the guardians of your choice.
3. It’s the best way for your wishes to be honoured
The rules of intestacy decide who will receive your assets when there’s no will. This means unmarried partners, friends, charities of your choice and even stepchildren will likely receive nothing unless you put that in writing. Among the top reasons for a will is making sure those you love will inherit what you want to give them.
With a will, you can also create trusts to care for disabled relatives, older family members and even a beloved pet. If you wish your money to go to a certain charity, that needs to be set in a will too.
Finally, a will allows you to clarify your final wishes. This could mean being cremated, a certain song being played at your funeral or leaving some money to friends to have a drink on you.