Making a will not only ensures that family members and loved ones such as co-habiting partners are cared for after your death – a properly drafted will also ensures that there is no dispute over the distribution of an estate and that the correct amount of inheritance tax is paid, if applicable.
Having to think about money matters and what to do with property adds to the stress of losing a loved one – once a will is in place, the estate can be valued and property and money distributed by the chosen Executors and a solicitor acting as a professional Executor, reducing the worry and stress for family members while they are grieving.
If a person dies without a will, the distribution of their estate is decided by law – meaning someone you might have wanted to provide for, or leave money or possessions to, might miss out.
A will is your chance to make sure loved ones receive any money and property you want them to have following your death. The bequests in a will make sure that certain possessions or sums of money are given to specified people, charities or other recipients.
This can be crucial if you are co-habiting, as co-habiting partners, non-cohabiting partners or boyfriend/girlfriends are unlikely to be automatically entitled to a share of your estate.
Quite simply, a will protects your loved ones – and may also include instructions about Executors or personal representatives who administer the will, or instructions about appointing guardians for any minors left without a parent. Wills can also include financial instructions, such instructions about the settlement of debt – or instructions regarding your funeral.
Everyone over the age of 18 should make a will if they have money, property or possessions – and certainly anyone with children, or a partner or spouse, or dependants such as elderly relatives or vulnerable family members, should make sure they make a will and keep it up-to-date when circumstances change.
It is possible to draw up your own will or use an off-the-shelf will form – but without expert legal advice on the drafting (wording) of the will, advice on how best to provide for your loved ones, or advice on Inheritance Tax, it is easy to make costly mistakes when writing a will, or by not making a will and leaving everything to chance.
A well drafted will, reviewed as circumstances change, can prevent a lifetime of hardship for families left unprovided for after the death of a loved one or breadwinner. Without a will, the law will decide what happens to your effects and any money following your death.
If your children are still minors at the time of your death and are orphaned – i.e. have no living parent, or a parent able to care for them – a will can contain instructions about the guardianship of your children in the event of your death.
For expert legal advice on writing or updating a will, call Duncan Lewis Wills and Probate solicitors in confidence on 0333 772 0409.